Potential HIPAA ‘Danger Areas’ for Doctors

A single HIPAA violation could be disastrous for the career of any doctor or health care professional. And in many cases, these HIPAA violations come as a result of a simple mistake rather than some sort of purposeful act.

Consider the following “danger areas” that could lead to HIPAA violations:

  • Copying and pasting patient information. While copying and pasting information may help to make work more efficient, it can also make it easier for doctors to unknowingly put outdated or otherwise incorrect information into patient records. Should the patient sue, attorneys can argue that a clear copy/paste job demonstrates a lack of engagement by the doctor.
  • Failure to review documents. One recent estimate from the Department of Veterans Affairs discovered that approximately 84 percent of notes found on patient records have at least one documentation error. Common mistakes include not signing the notes, not providing supporting documentation for any performed services or auto-filling the forms with the incorrect option or information. Be sure to review all documents to ensure that they have been properly completed.
  • Social media flubs. It has become increasingly common for health care professionals to describe frustrating, unusual or funny situations from work on their social media accounts as a way to vent or express themselves. However, depending on the information included in these types of posts, they could constitute HIPAA violations. Health care organizations should have strict social media policies without any leeway for these types of scenarios.
  • Taking records away from the office. While it can be tempting to bring documents away from the office to work on at home, all it takes is forgetting one sheet of paper in a taxi or one lost flash drive before a doctor could be guilty of violating a patient’s health care privacy.
  • Network security vulnerabilities. Health care organizations should consistently perform network analyses to uncover any potential vulnerabilities. Hospitals are liable for the safety of all information stored on their networks, and they tend to be targets for malicious hackers looking for personally identifiable information.

For additional examples of HIPAA “danger area” scenarios, consult an experienced New Jersey health care attorney with Buttaci Leardi & Werner, LLC right away.

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Posted in: Healthcare Criminal Defense