The main goal of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is to keep patient medical information confidential, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. When information is shared with others, patients must be asked for their consent. Health care workers must also take steps to keep patient information private, whether it has to do with a diagnosis or the patient’s name and phone number.
HIPAA violations are taken very seriously, even when they are caused by mistakes or oversights. If the violation is severe enough, you may even lose your license to practice. By being aware of the most common violations, you can take the proper steps to avoid them.
Problems disposing of patient records
Record disposal is a big problem at many doctor’s offices and health care clinics. To ensure total patient confidentiality, all paper and digital records must be discarded in the proper manner. Paper records should be shredded, while digital files must be completely removed from computer hard drives. When items are left behind, your risk of a breach becomes much greater.
Lost and stolen mobile devices that are not secured
It is not uncommon for medical workers to use mobile devices, such as smartphones and notepads, to help with patient care. Because there is a greater risk that these devices will be lost or stolen, they must be secured using passwords and other measures. Patient data on mobile devices should also be encrypted so it can only be accessed by authorized individuals.
Gossiping and overhearing conversations
While it might not seem like a very serious issue, discussing confidential patient information with others is a huge concern when it comes to patient confidentiality. Conversations about patients should always be kept professional. Health care staff should also be aware of who else is present when discussing patient information, even in a professional setting.