Common Sense & HIPAA

This article discusses a HIPAA violation so obscene it is difficult to believe. A nurse took a picture of a patient’s private area while he was unconscious, and then sent the pictures to her coworkers via text message.

Obviously this is a colossal mistake, and a violation of privacy, decency and common sense.

These types of HIPAA transgressions could lead to the following consequences for the patient and the violator:

  • People can lose their health insurance
  • People can have their identity stolen and experience financial fraud
  • It can cause personal embarrassment
  • It can cost people their job
  • Employees can lose their license and/or acquire a criminal record

The implications can be life changing for all parties involved.

People make mistakes. However, our culture of “instant communications” and social media make people more prone to these types of errors than ever. One quick text or tweet without thinking it through, and a patient and employee’s life can change dramatically for the worse. This is a good reminder. We in the medical management and insurance industries must be vigilant with our employee training, policies, and procedures.