Interprofessional Staff Update Example Paper

Introduction

Protected health Information-PHI is sensitive data belonging to patients that are used to identify them. These are the personal information of patients that contain critical data such as a patient’s medical history, insurance information, and any other critical personal information. The provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-HIPAA stipulates that healthcare providers must protect the health information of their patients.

Privacy Security and Confidentiality of Patient’s Medical Record

Healthcare organizations are required by law to protect the privacy of their patients by keeping their personal information away from unauthorized personnel and the public. Confidentiality entails concealing any personal information of patients from the public’s eye. The 2009 amendments to the HIPAA rules recognize sharing photos/pictures belonging to patients as a breach of confidentiality. From the case study provided, the nurse who shared a photo of herself and her patient on social media breached the law on patient privacy and confidentiality. Excellent examples of aspects that entail a breach of privacy and confidentiality in healthcare include; personal space/physical privacy, and personal data.

Public discussion of patients, carelessly leaving patients’ personal information lying on desks, taking photos with patients, and sharing on social media also breach the rule on patient confidentiality (Sipes, 2016). HIPAA requires all healthcare providers to strictly adhere to set rules and regulations about customer privacy and confidentiality. Concerning PHI, all healthcare facilities must protect all identifiable personal health information of patients such as financial information, birth date, name, photo/pictures, and patients’ medical history.

HIPAA Social Media Violations

A breach of a patient’s confidentiality is a serious offense that attracts severe punishment by HIPAA. Punishment is meted out on nurses and healthcare givers that breach HIPAA’s privacy and confidentiality rules, even where the intention of the breach is not malicious. In the United States, over 500 professional nurses have been terminated from work for various offenses that fall under breach of confidentiality and privacy (Stevens, 2017). Furthermore, HIPAA is highly unlikely to hire nurses who have been previously terminated for breaching its confidentiality and privacy rules.

Sanctions Imposed on Violators

There are different categories of punishment by HIPAA depending on the gravity of a violation. Where HIPAA finds that a violation was unintentional, the punishment meted out depends on the seriousness of the violation. For example, posting a patient’s personal health information on social media is a serious violation even if the intention of the nurse is not malicious (Mosier, 2019). From the case study, the intention of the nurse when she posted a photo of herself and her patient is a serious breach of HIPAA rules that warrants termination from work.

Wilful violations of HIPAA rules result not only in dismissal from work but also in criminal charges. Where a nurse was found to wilfully breach PIH, they are terminated from work and criminal proceedings instituted against them (Jabour, 2021). Another sanction that HIPAA uses to sanction violators is to delist violators. This means that a violator is very unlikely to be rehired as a nurse in the future.

Conclusion

Patient privacy and confidentiality is a critical factor in the healthcare sector. Nurses and all health professionals in the U.S. must strictly observe privacy and confidentiality policies created by HIPAA. All personal health information of patients is private information that must be kept out of reach of the public. Violation of HIPAA rules on privacy and confidentiality attracts severe punishment ranging from being delisted as a nurse, criminal prosecution, and termination from duty.

References

  • Mosier, S., Roberts, W., & Englebright, J. (2019). A systems-level method for developing nursing informatics solutions. JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration49(11), 543–548. https://doi.org/10.1097/nna.0000000000000815
  • Sipes, C. (2016, January 1). Project Management: Essential Skill of Nurse Informaticists. Walden Library. https://eds-a-ebscohost-com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=2&sid=d7e0961a-b9f5-48db-b31c-74719f7bace7%40sdc-v-sessmgr01
  • Stevens, G. (2017, May). Computerized Patient Record System Graphical User Interface (CPRS GUI) Installation Guide Version 26 [PDF]. va.gov.
  • Jabour, S. M., Chander, G., Riekert, K. A., Keruly, J. C., Herne, K., Hutton, H., Beach, M. C., Lau, B., Moore, R. D. & Monroe, A. K. (2021). The Patient Reported Outcomes as a Clinical Tool (PROACT) Pilot Study: What Can be Gained by Sharing Computerized Patient-Reported Mental Health and Substance Use Symptoms with Providers in HIV Care? AIDS and Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-021-03175-2