Holy Cow – Do You Think This Is A HIPAA Privacy Violation?

Here is the best way I can frame this up: if you were the patient that had to go to the emergency room for constipation, would you want that information displayed publicly?

Here is why I ask …

It is Saturday morning and I am blogging on my iphone from a semi-private room in the emergency room (at a hospital I will not name). Why?

Fortunately we found out that we aren’t here for anything major so we have found some way to occupy our time by following — in real time on a computer monitor — the things people have come to the emergency room for, a few of which are:
• constipation
• fever
• ankle injury
• kidney stones

Interesting right? And, you know how i love technology — especially when i am just sitting around twiddling my thumbs.

But how about the fact that along with these symptoms are the patients’ names, ages, and gender? Wow!

Yes — you read that right. The monitors where this information is displayed are placed in plain view where anyone with decent eyesight can easily see everything on them. Hmmm….

What do you think? If you were “Mr Constipation” would you want it publicly displayed for the world to know?

One thought on “Holy Cow – Do You Think This Is A HIPAA Privacy Violation?

  1. Just so you know, I AM reading your posts, just not necessarily commenting as frequently. It’s been a bad year for migraines so far.
    This is a hard one. I can feel for the hospital staff wanting to have easy access to information – the rather tiny hospital down here (Coshocton County Memorial) would be swamped by a dozen trauma cases, so I can support the medical staff. On the other hand, I can see the definite downsides of having your ailment broadcast far and wide, especially embarrassing ailments or those which improperly cause people to snicker. (I’m thinking of the lovely Farrah Fawcett and her premature end due to anal cancer, which causes endless little smirks among those with sophomoric senses of humour.)
    Maybe a compromise would be ailment crossed with bed number? That way, the staff knows which rooms are more critical, and the actual patient’s information could be on his/her chart in the room. Yes, people are regularly misplaced in the wrong rooms, but this could keep the public embarrassment at a lower level.

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