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Should I self-report? HIPAA

HIPAA   (556 Views | 1 Replies)
by hipaaowned11 hipaaowned11 (New) New Nurse

43 Profile Views; 1 Post

I screwed up.

I have home access to our charting system. 

I needed to get into a patient’s chart I cared for and clicked on another patient’s chart, accidentally.  I ended up changing some information and didn’t realize it.  I sort of undid everything but came across a prompt saying “DEPARTED.”  I have never seen this before and thought it read “DECEASED”.

I have read about people being terminated for HIPAA violations in patient’s charts where sentinel events occurred.

So in a panic, I went through the other patient's chart and read, and read, and re-accessed and read.  So “departed” meant patient was discharged.  I am not sure why it was still on the patient list.

I feel terrible.  I cannot sleep.  I want to report myself to medical records, my manager, whoever else is relevant at the hospital and tell them what happened.  I want to cry.

Edited by hipaaowned11

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I'm editing/changing my response.

If you do decide to report to your manager or privacy officer, don't go overboard in explaining. The more freaked out you act, the more others seem to think that they, too, are required to freak out and they will subsequently overreact.

Instead, you would simply convey concern for whether or not you messed up the chart. The basic scenario is that you mistakenly entered the wrong chart and documented some things, then tried to undo that and then got a pop up that made you think you discharged the patient or marked them deceased. You tried to figure out if you had done that but don't know and need assistance.

Your other option is to simply be prepared to answer if they contact you, but that does run the risk of violating some policy they probably have which says accidental disclosures/accessions should be brought to their attention immediately.

Edited by JKL33

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