Friday, April 11, 2008
Medical Privacy - "just me being nosy"
UCLA is facing a bit of a crisis as it reveals that more than 60 patient's health records had been improperly accessed by an employee that had no right to view those confidential records. Most of these records were celebs (Brittney Spears, Tom Cruise, George Clooney, Farah Fawcett, Maria Shriver) or other high-profile people. The fired employee who snooped says "it was just me being nosy".
All hospitals and doctors follow HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) guidelines that should protect patients. They are allowed to share confidential health information only with other care givers that have a "need to know" for the benefit of patient care. But all the regulations and guidelines in the world cannot fully protect privacy. Access to records, whether paper or electronic, cannot be fully secured.
I don't know that more laws are the answer. The electronic health record does have the ability to block from view anyone who is not authorized to see a certain record. There is also a footprint left for every viewer. I think that will be our best way to protect patients privacy in the future.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 7:22 AM