HIPAA Concerns From A Hospital Pharmacy Technician

Hospital Information Secure - No HIPAA Violation

Hospital Information Secure - No HIPAA Violation

Example 1:
A 17 year old male, hospitalized with a diagnosis that my son dealt with 4 years ago. I make the comment, "poor guy, my son went through that". I didn't look in his chart, only the admission reason on the track board.

Example 2:
A patient is admitted, using "more than normal" amounts of a compounded medication. I look into the chart, note the rate the medication is running at. Do the math and tell the Rph how much will be needed until the morning. Our pharmacy isn't staffed 24/7. Not having enough medication would require a call the pharmacist on call, getting them out of bed to make a medication

Are either of these HIPAA violations?

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Jun 08, 2017
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NOT a HIPAA Violation
by: David

In both cases, patients are being or have already been admitted to the hospital that you work at.

As far as I know, it is not a HIPAA violation when you are giving protected and identifiable health information to part of the medical team in order to treat and care for an admitted patient.

Protected health information needs to be given only to those who need to know. I believe that in the HIPAA law this is called the "minimum information necessary".

In these cases, you are not releasing or providing the patients protected health information to third parties without the patients' consent.

As long as they have signed a consent form allowing for treatment, information must be communicated to the medical team, including pharmacists and pharmacy techs, who will be mixing and compounding and otherwise taking care of the patients.

In the case of the 17-year-old male, you have not released protected health information to any unauthorized third party. You are just sharing that your son went through the same thing as he is going through.

I see no reason that these two examples in the hospital setting are HIPAA violations.

In fact, in the second case, I'm sure the pharmacist may thank you for ensuring that he won't have to be woken up and have to come into the hospital in the middle of the night.

Thanks for the question!

Mar 29, 2017
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No, these aren't HIPPA Violations as far as I know
by: David

The first example, there was definitely not a HIPPA violation.

In the second example, from what I know, the pharmacy was going to be contacted anyway, eventually, to get more medication for the patient.

I may be wrong, but I don't see any HIPPA violations here.

Check with your pharmacist just to be 100% sure.

Thanks for the question.

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