Threats to Patient Confidentiality

Today let us see some common things in the medical practice which jeopardize confidentiality. 

Medical records — The physical (or electronic) medical record belongs to the clinician, practice, or institution that is responsible for maintaining it. During the transmission of medical records from doctor to doctor, some confidential patient information may slip out. It is essential that all information is sent with utmost care. 

HIPAA — The health privacy regulations (sometimes referred to as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability [HIPAA] Privacy Rule) issued under the HIPPA Act of 1996, which took effect in 2002, provide important protection for medical records. Medical provides should familiarize themselves with HIPAA rules. 

Electronic records — The electronic medical record is another potential area where the confidentiality of a patient could be breached. The records for a particular visit should be accessible only by those who need to know the details. Log in and Log outs should be done. Access to ex-employees should be blocked. Non-clinical staff should have no access to patient’s medical records. 

Details about patient’s sexual health, mental health, and behavioral issues are vulnerable to stealing. Care should be taken to prevent ‘hacking’ into the electronic medical records. 

Patient portals — Patient portals, which parents and patients use to access information regarding scheduling and laboratory test results through electronic medical records systems, pose another potential risk to confidential care. Educate patients on to protect their portals into electronic health records. 

Pharmacists: Pharmacists may divulge confidential patient information while filling the prescriptions. They should take precautions to protect patient confidentiality. 

Insurance companies: Insurance companies collect a lot of confidential patient information as they pay for provider services. Lot of patient information slip out while collecting medical records and their transmission to insurance companies. Special precautions should be taken in this area to safeguard patient information. 

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