NURS 3110 Week 1 HIPAA - An Issue of Patient Privacy

NURS 3110 Week 1 HIPAA - An Issue of Patient Privacy

Patient privacy is a critical concern in healthcare, and measures must be taken to protect patient information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted in 1996 to safeguard patient privacy, ensuring that patients have control over their healthcare information (Guadarrama, 2018). However, in a scenario involving privacy and confidentiality, healthcare workers were found to be sharing patient information through non-encrypted networks such as Google Calendar and text messaging, which violates HIPAA privacy rules (Vanderpool, 2019). To address this issue and protect patient confidentiality across all communication platforms, it is important to implement effective strategies.

Strategies to Safeguard Information

At the hospital I work at, Asante, patient information is safeguarded through a strict social media policy. This policy prohibits employees from posting work-related details or any patient information online, and violations can result in termination. While not directly related to HIPAA, the hospital takes patient protection and privacy as a top priority (Vanderpool, 2019).

Another measure taken by Asante to protect patient information on mobile devices is the enforcement of a texting policy. All communication regarding patient care or patient information between providers and clinicians is required to occur on an appropriately encrypted network. Violations of this policy can also lead to termination. As an alternative, an encrypted network called Doc Halo is provided for secure communication (Vanderpool, 2019).

NURS 3110 Week 1 HIPAA – An Issue of Patient Privacy Mobile Devices and Communication Issues

At Asante, all providers and clinical staff have access to DocHalo, a real-time, HIPAA-compliant clinical communication platform. The hospital has established a policy outlining the proper etiquette and regulations for using the application. DocHalo can be accessed on any computer within the facility and can also be downloaded on mobile phones. When using the application on personal phones, employees are required to sign in and out, and the application must not be left open or accessible to others. Messages sent through DocHalo are stored for ten years and can be used as evidence in court (Vanderpool, 2019).

For inter-hospital communication, such as imaging to RN or telemetry to CNA, a dated paging system and wireless telephones are used. These communication methods operate on an in-house encrypted network and comply with HIPAA regulations when used correctly by staff (Vanderpool, 2019).

Nursing Strategies to Protect Health Information

As a nurse, I prioritize patient privacy and take steps to protect health information. Although I recognize the benefits of secure text messaging through DocHalo, I choose not to download the application onto my personal phone. Since I do not lock my phone and cannot guarantee logging out after every shift, I believe it is best to avoid potential security risks. One must be mindful of HIPAA violations and the potential ambiguity surrounding breaches of patient information (Washington Update $4.3 Million HIPAA Penalty for Breach of Unencrypted PHI., 2018).

Furthermore, I ensure that I log out or lock my screen when using computers within the facility. This is particularly important when using workstations on wheels (WOWs) to ensure that patient information is not visible to unauthorized individuals. Logging out after each use adds an extra layer of protection (Vanderpool, 2019).

NURS 3110 Week 1 HIPAA – An Issue of Patient Privacy Conclusion

As healthcare professionals, we must recognize the importance of patient privacy in an era of technological advancements. While technology offers numerous benefits in patient care, it is crucial to protect patients’ rights and information. Safeguarding patient information across various communication channels, whether online, through oral communication, or on paper, is an essential aspect of our responsibility (Vanderpool, 2019).


Guadarrama, A. (2018). Mind the Gap: Addressing Gaps in Hipaa Coverage in the Mobile Health Apps Industry. Houston Law Review, 55(4), 999–1025. Retrieved from

 Vanderpool D. (2019). HIPAA COMPLIANCE: A Common Sense Approach. Innovations in clinical neuroscience, 16(1-2), 38–41. Washington Update $4.3 Million HIPAA Penalty for Breach of Unencrypted PHI. (2018). Benefits

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