Protected Health Information PHI Privacy Security and Confidentiality Best Practices
These infographics serve as examples of how to succinctly summarize information. In your staff update assessment, you will not have all the images and graphics that infographics might contain; instead, focus your analysis on what makes the messaging effective. Apply these principles to writing your interprofessional staff update.
Resources: Nursing Infographics on Protecting PHI
- Atlantic Training. (2012). HIPAA infographic: Protecting patient privacy, how important is it? https://www.atlantictraining.com/blog/hipaa-infograhic-high-cost-violations/
- HITC Staff. (2017). Infographic: The rise of medical data sharing and privacy concerns. https://hitconsultant.net/2017/08/11/infographic-medical-data-sharing/
- University of Illinois at Chicago. (n.d.). Protecting patient information in the age of breaches. https://healthinformatics.uic.edu/blog/protecting-patient-information/
Resources: The Nurse’s Role in Patient Privacy
- ANA Center for Ethics and Human Rights. (2015). American Nurses Association position statement on privacy and confidentiality [PDF]. Available from https://www.nursingworld.org/~4ad4a8/globalassets/docs/ana/position-statement-privacy-and-confidentiality.pdf
- This ANA position statement examines the role of nurses in protecting privacy and confidentiality and provides recommendations to maintain compliance.
- McCartney, P. R. (2016). The electronic health record and nursing practice. The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, 41(2), 126.
- This article comments on the Joint Commission (TJC) alert on the safe use of health information technology (HIT) following an analysis of events that resulted in patient harm.
Resources: Social Media and Privacy
- Balestra, M. L. (2018). Social media missteps could put your nursing license at risk. Alabama Nurse, 45(3), 18.
- This article explores how social media can create legal problems for nurses and reviews best practices for managing social media missteps.
- Green, J. (2017). Nurses’ online behaviour: Lessons for the nursing profession. Contemporary Nurse, 53(3), 355–367.
- Green states that nurses need to carefully navigate the complexities between the personal and the professional on social media. The article includes a look at the legalities and etiquette of the online environment.
- Heath, S. (2018). How does social media impact perceived provider professionalism? https://patientengagementhit.com/news/how-does-social-media-impact-perceived-provider-professionalism
- This study shows that clinicians can maintain provider professionalism by keeping their own personal social media posts to a minimum.
- Healthcare Compliance Pros. (n.d.). Posting with caution: The do’s and don’ts of social media and HIPAA compliance. http://www.healthcarecompliancepros.com/blog/posting-with-caution-the-dos-and-donts-of-social-media-and-hipaa-compliance-2/
- This is a list of do’s and dont’s of social media and HIPAA compliance.
- HIPAA Journal. (2018). HIPAA social media rules. https://www.hipaajournal.com/hipaa-social-media
- This article reviews the HIPAA laws and standards that apply to social media use by health care organizations and their employees.
- National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (2018). A nurse’s guide to the use of social media [PDF]. https://www.ncsbn.org/NCSBN_SocialMedia.pdf
- Inappropriate social media posts by nurses have resulted in licensure and legal repercussions. This guide was developed by NCSBN nurses and nursing students on how to use social media responsibly.
- Ryan, G. (2016). International perspectives on social media guidance for nurses: A content analysis. Nursing Management, 23(8), 28–35.
- This report analyzes the content of national and international professional guidelines on social media and consolidates good practice examples for the nursing profession.
- Borten, K. (2016). The role of nurses in HIPAA compliance, healthcare security. https://healthitsecurity.com/news/the-role-of-nurses-in-hipaa-compliance-healthcare-security
- Due to nurses’ focus on patient health and contact with patient data, many may become desensitized to the importance of HIPAA compliance.
- Garner, G. (2021). Understanding the 5 main HIPAA rules. HIPAA Exams. https://www.hipaaexams.com/blog/understanding-5-main-hipaa-rules/
- This is an in-depth look at five HIPAA laws and regulations to ensure training and documentation protocols are error free and are consistent with the current standards.
- Heath, S. (2017). Do health data security concerns influence patient data sharing? https://patientengagementhit.com/news/do-health-data-security-concerns-influence-patient-data-sharing
- Heath explains why patients need better assurances of PHI and health data security before opting into a health information exchange or other patient data-sharing model.
- Zabel, L. (2016). Ten common HIPAA violations and preventative measures to keep your practice in compliance. https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/healthcare-information-technology/10-common-hipaa-violations-and-preventative-measures-to-keep-your-practice-in-compliance.html
- HIPAA violations can result in fines of up to $1.5 million and may include sanctions or loss of license. This article reviews the 10 most common violations.
As you begin to consider the assessment, it would be an excellent choice to complete the Breach of Protected Health Information (PHI) activity. The will support your success with the assessment by creating the opportunity for you to test your knowledge of potential privacy, security, and confidentiality violations of protected health information. The activity is not graded and counts towards course engagement.
Health professionals today are increasingly accountable for the use of protected health information (PHI). Various government and regulatory agencies promote and support privacy and security through a variety of activities. Examples include:
- Meaningful use of electronic health records (EHR).
- Provision of EHR incentive programs through Medicare and Medicaid.
- Enforcement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules.
- Release of educational resources and tools to help providers and hospitals address privacy, security, and confidentiality risks in their practices.
Technological advances, such as the use of social media platforms and applications for patient progress tracking and communication, have provided more access to health information and improved communication between care providers and patients.
At the same time, advances such as these have resulted in more risk for protecting PHI. Nurses typically receive annual training on protecting patient information in their everyday practice. This training usually emphasizes privacy, security, and confidentiality best practices such as:
- Keeping passwords secure.
- Logging out of public computers.
- Sharing patient information only with those directly providing care or who have been granted permission to receive this information.
Today, one of the major risks associated with privacy and confidentiality of patient identity and data relates to social media. Many nurses and other health care providers place themselves at risk when they use social media or other electronic communication systems inappropriately. For example, a Texas nurse was recently terminated for posting patient vaccination information on Facebook. In another case, a New York nurse was terminated for posting an insensitive emergency department photo on her Instagram account.
Health care providers today must develop their skills in mitigating risks to their patients and themselves related to patient information. At the same time, they need to be able distinguish between effective and ineffective uses of social media in health care.
This assessment will require you to develop a staff update for the interprofessional team to encourage team members to protect the privacy, confidentiality, and security of patient information.
To successfully prepare to complete this assessment, complete the following:
- Review the infographics on protecting PHI provided in the resources for this assessment, or find other infographics to review. These infographics serve as examples of how to succinctly summarize evidence-based information.
- Analyze these infographics and distill them into five or six principles of what makes them effective. As you design your interprofessional staff update, apply these principles. Note: In a staff update, you will not have all the images and graphics that an infographic might contain. Instead, focus your analysis on what makes the messaging effective.
- Select from any of the following options, or a combination of options, the focus of your interprofessional staff update:
- Social media best practices.
- What not to do: social media.
- Social media risks to patient information.
- Steps to take if a breach occurs.
- Conduct independent research on the topic you have selected in addition to reviewing the suggested resources for this assessment. This information will serve as the source(s) of the information contained in your interprofessional staff update.
In this assessment, assume you are a nurse in an acute care, community, school, nursing home, or other health care setting. Before your shift begins, you scroll through Facebook and notice that a coworker has posted a photo of herself and a patient on Facebook. The post states, “I am so happy Jane is feeling better. She is just the best patient I’ve ever had, and I am excited that she is on the road to recovery.”
You have recently completed your annual continuing education requirements at work and realize this is a breach of your organization’s social media policy. Your organization requires employees to immediately report such breaches to the privacy officer to ensure the post is removed immediately and that the nurse responsible receives appropriate corrective action.
You follow appropriate organizational protocols and report the breach to the privacy officer. The privacy officer takes swift action to remove the post. Due to the severity of the breach, the organization terminates the nurse.
Based on this incident’s severity, your organization has established a task force with two main goals:
- Educate staff on HIPAA and appropriate social media use in health care.
- Prevent confidentiality, security, and privacy breaches.
The task force has been charged with creating a series of interprofessional staff updates on the following topics:
- Social media best practices.
- What not to do: Social media.
- Social media risks to patient information.
- Steps to take if a breach occurs.
You are asked to select one or more of the topics and create the content for a staff update containing a maximum of two content pages. This assessment is not a traditional essay. It is a staff
educational update about PHI. Consider creating a flyer, pamphlet, or PowerPoint slide. Remember it should not be more than two pages (excluding a title and a reference page).
The task force has asked team members assigned to the topics to include the following content in their updates in addition to content on their selected topics:
- What is protected health information (PHI)?
- Be sure to include essential HIPAA information.
- What are privacy, security, and confidentiality?
- Define and provide examples of privacy, security, and confidentiality concerns related to the use of technology in health care.
- Explain the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration to safeguard sensitive electronic health information.
- What evidence relating to social media usage and PHI do interprofessional team members need to be aware of? For example:
- How many nurses have been terminated for inappropriate social media use in the United States?
- What types of sanctions have health care organizations imposed on interdisciplinary team members who have violated social media policies?
- What have been the financial penalties assessed against health care organizations for inappropriate social media use?
- What evidence-based strategies have health care organizations employed to prevent or reduce confidentiality, privacy, and security breaches, particularly related to social media usage?
- Your staff update is limited to two double-spaced content pages. Be selective about the content you choose to include in your update so you can meet the page length requirement. Include need-to-know information. Omit nice-to-know information.
- Many times people do not read staff updates, do not read them carefully, or do not read them to the end. Ensure your staff update piques staff members’ interest, highlights key points, and is easy to read. Avoid overcrowding the update with too much content.
- Also, supply a separate reference page that includes two or three peer-reviewed and one or two non-peer-reviewed resources (for a total of 3–5 resources) to support the staff update content.
- Written communication: Ensure the staff update is free from errors that detract from the overall message.
- Submission length: Maximum of two double-spaced content pages.
- Font and font size: Use Times New Roman, 12-point.
- Citations and references: Provide a separate reference page that includes 2–3 current, peer-reviewed and 1–2 current, non-peer-reviewed in-text citations and references (total of 3–5 resources) that support the staff update’s content. Current mean no older than 5 years.
- APA 7 format: Be sure your citations and references adhere to APA format.