A recent incident shows just how important it is to train all workforce members on the HIPAA regulations. Notice how I used the words workforce members and not just employees.
A temporary staff member of Providence Holy Cross Medical Center recently posted patient information on Facebook. The temporary staff member also made fun of the patient’s medical condition. As reported by the Los Angeles Daily News
According to a printout of the Facebook page obtained by the Daily News, the employee displayed a photo of a medical record listing the woman’s name and the date she was admitted, and posted the comment: “Funny but this patient came in to cure her VD and get birth control.”
This is a perfect example of why we have HIPAA regulations and shows the need to protect patient information. Imagine you were this patient and had your privacy breached.
Looking into the situation more, it is clear that the temporary staff member did not receive HIPAA training. On his Facebook post several people told him he was violating the patient’s privacy and HIPAA regulations. He responded that he would leave the post up and said:
“People, it’s just Facebook…Not reality. Hello? Again…It’s just a name out of millions and millions of names. If some people can’t appreciate my humor than tough. And if you don’t like it too bad because it’s my wall and I’ll post what I want to. Cheers!”
Again this incident shows the need to ensure that all workforce members including employees, contractors and temporary staff members receive HIPAA training. Without a workforce member knowing the HIPAA regulations, you can imagine that many more incidents of posting pictures and patient information on social networks will occur.