Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What if a Fellow Healthcare Worker is a Patient?

A registered nurse wrote an insightful piece about what to do (or more importantly not do) when a healthcare collegue is a patient.

She speaks from first hand experience as she seen five terminations as a result of inappropriate in-house chart accesses, including one where it was her own medical privacy that was violated.
"Have a reason to open a chart or don’t do it. If you open it by accident, find out your facility’s procedure for documenting accidental chart accesses and use it. Don’t have time? Do you have time to find a new job?" - Megen Duffy, RN, BA, BSN, CEN
Her Advice to Her Peers
  • If you see a colleague is admitted to another floor do not go there to visit. You may have good intentions, but it’s still illegal.
  • If your coworker wants to tell you about her appendectomy, let her bring it up on her own time, just as if it happened at another hospital.
  • If you are curious about a coworker's lab results or medication history do not open the chart and look.
  • If your work friend is in the hospital, do not barge into the room to say hello. Act like a regular visitor and go through the proper channels
As she concludes - "Corporate compliance officers now routinely investigate chart accesses for all employees admitted to or seen through an institution. Names on the list who were not involved in the patient’s treatment have some ’splaining to do."
Download a white paper on automated chart access investigation. Learn how to proactively identify unauthorized breaches of patient data privacy, even by authorized users - with no hardware and no on-site software.
Sources:
(a) A Twist on HIPAA: When a Colleague Is Your Patient - Blog @ Online LPN to RN, May 22, 2012

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