Unintentionally Violated HIPAA. Felt Stupid.

Updated | Posted
by Streetnurse42 (New) New Nurse

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I’m very stressed out even though my manager is well aware of this mistake and was very kind about it. 

I was working at a nursing home and we received our residents’ test results. We have to disclose the results to the residents. I was not paying attention so I walked into one room and told the resident about his result. His wife was in the room. Then I found out that it was the wrong resident! He never tested positive. 

I immediately told my manager who said it is not a big deal because there is an outbreak so everyone is bound to get the COVID at some point. She told me to use patient identifiers next time.

I felt so stupid. I have worked here for 1.5 years and should have known better. I apologized to the resident who shrugged it off  

Did anyone make any stupid mistakes that involved violating HIPAA?

Wuzzie

4,646 Posts

In the whole scheme of things that's about a 2 on a scale of 10. Just be more careful next time.

hherrn

2,433 Posts

Did you walk into Mr smith's room, and say: "Mr Jones, you have Covid"?

Telling a patient he has Covid when he does not does not violate HIPAA.  Telling one patient who does have Covid probably does.

 

RNNPICU, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU. Has 16 years experience. 1,240 Posts

I was thinking the same thing.

If you walk in Joe's room and are doing an assessment and start talking to him and start telling him yeah, did you know that Jack from accross the hall has COVID can you believe that = HIPAA

If you walk into Joe's room witout realizing your in Joe's room and say Hi Jack - your COVID result is positive ---oops sorry Joe, I just walked into the wrong room = accidental HIPAA.

 

The first scenario is intentional, second, you accidentally told the wrong pt

Streetnurse42

9 Posts

59 minutes ago, RNNPICU said:

I was thinking the same thing.

If you walk in Joe's room and are doing an assessment and start talking to him and start telling him yeah, did you know that Jack from accross the hall has COVID can you believe that = HIPAA

If you walk into Joe's room witout realizing your in Joe's room and say Hi Jack - your COVID result is positive ---oops sorry Joe, I just walked into the wrong room = accidental HIPAA.

 

The first scenario is intentional, second, you accidentally told the wrong pt

Do nurses get reprimanded for accidental HIPAA violations? 

Mr. Murse

Specializes in Critical Care/Vascular Access. Has 11 years experience. 384 Posts

I'm pretty sure that doesn't constitute a HIPAA violation. 

Frankly though, even if it does.........if no one cares then no one cares, and you seem to be the only one that cares in the situation.

I would quit worrying about it. Everyone has mixed up patients every once in a while. I'd be more worried about giving the wrong patient's meds or something.

Edited by Mr. Murse