Friday, May 24, 2013

Nurse Texts Private Info, But Doctor Sued

A man sought treatment for a sexually transmitted disease at a clinic. A nurse at the clinic texted messages to the patient’s girlfriend, who was the nurse’s sister-in-law, about his condition.

The nurse was fired for her actions but the man sued the clinic for breach of fiduciary duty to maintain the confidentiality of his personal health information. The case is progressing through the courts and is being watched closely by the medical and legal communities.

"If the court does find there is an actionable right directly against a medical facility for the disclosure of medical information by a nonphysician, that would have huge implications throughout New York state and throughout the country."
- T. Andrew Brown, Plaintiff's Attorney
Legal experts such as attorney Brad M. Rostolsky say this case is a reminder to physician practices and medical offices to educate employees properly about privacy regulations and ensure that they know the consequences of such breaches.

ProAssurance, a medical liability carrier, recommends "all employees sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition of employment and again at the time of their performance evaluations. Supervisors should actively monitor for staff violations and discipline violators in a consistent manner."

Download a white paper on patient privacy breach detection. Learn how to proactively identify unauthorized breaches of patient data privacy, even by authorized users - with no hardware and no on-site software.
(a) Staff slipups on patient privacy can get doctors sued - American Medical News, 04/22/2013

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