Academic level – Undergraduate 3-4
Type of paper – Analysis
Topic Title – Staff update on HIPAA
Write a 2-page interprofessional staff update on HIPAA and appropriate social media use in health care.
In everyday practice, people appeal to social media in view of its potential to make their lives more convenient and simple. In the medical industry, its use has become indispensable due to its utility for both providers and patients’ communities. Simultaneously, social media-related risks frequently appear in the medical field generally and in clinical settings specifically, particularly when it comes to protecting patient privacy and confidentiality. Here are some guidelines for using social media by healthcare practitioners.
Protected Health Information (PHI)
Protected health information (PHI) is any data that can be used to identify a patient and their medical history. PHI includes names, addresses, dates of birth, medical records, referrals, appointments, and any other personal health information (Tariq &Hackert, 2023, para. 3). To safeguard patient privacy, PHI must be kept secure and confidential.
PHI use and disclosure are governed by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The provision ensures a requirement to protect the confidentiality of medical records and improves the mobility and continuity of health insurance coverage (Nettrour et al., 2019, p. 58). Healthcare providers must uphold patient privacy and confidentiality in accordance with the law by making sure that PHI is kept secure and private.
Privacy, Security, and Confidentiality
The idea of privacy pertains to a person’s right to protect the confidentiality of their personal data. Security is interpreted as precautions that are essential for protection against illegal access, use, or disclosure of personal data. Confidentiality is the obligation to safeguard the privacy of personal data and prevent its unauthorized exposure. Privacy, security, and confidentiality are crucial for protecting patient data in the healthcare sector. To protect PHI, healthcare workers must make sure they are adhering to the required procedures.
Protecting sensitive electronic health information requires interdisciplinary cooperation. To ensure that PHI is kept private and safe, healthcare practitioners must collaborate to optimize available sources and pool efforts. Accountability, transparency, compliance, clarity, and ethics constitute the vital components to effective cooperation and communication that will guarantee security (Martin et al., 2020, para. 3). Collaboration assures that everyone understands their responsibilities for safeguarding patient information and stays on the same page.
Social Media Risks to Patient Information
Patient data may be at risk from social media primarily. The information that healthcare practitioners post on social media needs to be carefully considered. Patient mistrust, job termination, legal action, and other severe consequences could result from posting patient information on social media.
What Not to Do: Social Media
Healthcare practitioners should refrain from the following when utilizing social media:
Steps to Take if a Breach Occurs
Healthcare practitioners are required to notify their organization’s privacy officer right away in the event of a breach of patient information. The privacy officer will act quickly to remove the post and see that the accountable nurse is given the proper reprimand.
Evidence-based tactics have been used by healthcare organizations to prevent or lessen security, privacy, and confidentiality breaches, particularly those connected to social media use. These tactics consist of:
Social media transforms into an instrumental valuable framework for coworkers’ and patients’ communication, but it still requires caution. Healthcare workers can safeguard patient confidentiality and privacy and uphold the respect of their patients by adhering to these best practices.
Martin, C. L., Kramer-Kostecka, E. N., Linde, J. A., Friend, S., Zuroski, V. R., & Fulkerson, J. A. (2020). Leveraging interdisciplinary teams to develop and implement secure websites for behavioral research: Applied tutorial. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(9). https://doi.org/10.2196/19217
Nettrour, J. F., Burch, M. B., & Bal, B. S. (2019). Patients, pictures, and privacy: Managing clinical photographs in the smartphone era. Arthroplasty Today, 5(1), 57–60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.artd.2018.10.001
Tariq, R. A., & Hackert, P. B. (2023). Patient confidentiality. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519540/