If you work as a doctor, nurse or dentist, you are subject to strict rules regarding patient confidentiality. A breach, whether intentional or accidental, could put your license to practice at risk.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) sets out the rules you need to abide by when dealing with sensitive patient information. Here are some areas to take care in:
Sharing information at work
As a medical professional, you are part of a team, and sharing information is crucial to your team’s effectiveness. Yet you do not need to share everything about a patient with everyone you work with. Your employer should help you to understand what needs sharing with who. They would also be in the line of fire if confidentiality breaches occur, so hopefully, they prioritize this.
Sharing information outside of work
You spend so much of your life at work that it can be tough to separate it from your personal life. Maybe your partner is also in the medical profession, or perhaps you socialize with your work colleagues. Hence, it is only natural that the conversation will sometimes turn to work.
Sharing your day can help alleviate some of the stress from the difficult situations you face each day. Yet you must be incredibly careful about what you share and where you are when you do it.
The walls have ears, as they say, and if someone overhears you talking about someone they know in a bar, party or public space, they might tell the patient concerned. If they file a complaint against you, your license might be on the line. Getting help to protect it will be crucial.