Common HIPAA Violations You Need to Know as a Health Service Provider

22 Nov

The law to protect patient health information is well known by medical practitioners. However, there is still some question regarding HIPAA’s rules and regulations that catch health providers off guard who are not up to date with the current HIPAA rules and regulations. It is important to note that violation of HIPAA regulations could lead to sanctions or loss of license of a health worker, damage the reputation, and can also result in a criminal lawsuit and civil fines. Generally, health service providers are mandated by HIPAA privacy rules to ensure the confidentiality of individual health information and ensure it is well protected. Although no health service provider plans to violate HIPAA privacy rules, sometimes one may ignorantly violate put the PHI at risk especially during this digital era. In this article, we outline some ways health workers may be breaking HIPAA privacy rules. Check out  HIPAA risk analysis for more info.

One subtle yet serious HIPAA violation is sending patient health information to your health team. This can happen for example a nurse sends a message to the doctor in charge of a particular patient having a medical reaction to a prescribed drug. While this looks alright to ordinary people a health provider knows this is prohibited because the text goes through a nurse's private phone to her carrier then to the carrier of the doctor’s service provider and finally to the medic phones. This process risks exposure to a patient’s health information as text can be intercepted during the transmission process or someone can access the nurse or doctor’s phone and view the patient’s health information. It is therefore important to be alert and avoid such a mistake that can cost you the practicing license or lead to sanctions.

The other common mistake is a failure to report a lost or stolen device that may contain PHI. It is worth noting that in case you lose your smartphone or tablet that contains patient health information you can be held responsible for breach of HIPAA in case someone else accesses PHI from your stolen or lost device. It is therefore important to report when such a thing happens to relevant authorities. It is also imperative to ensure your device has an extra layer of security or encryption to avoid HIPAA privacy and security breach. On the same note if your kids borrow your phone to play with it and have PHI you are at risk of HIPAA breach in case your child access PHI. Those are common HIPAA rule violations health practitioners should know to avoid HIPAA breaches in the future.  View more details here at 

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