Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nursing and Social Networking - Think Twice About What You Write

With the ever-growing popularity of social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the lines become less clear between what is public and what could potentially be a violation of patient privacy.

With social networking becoming an integral part of our daily lives, the boundaries between social conduct and professional misconduct are becoming increasingly difficult to navigate.

 

This social connection between patient and healthcare provider can open a myriad of breaches of patient privacy.

 

Pictures of patients posting comments regarding care provided, or even a simple “don’t forget to take your medicine” to a patient on a social media network, could be a violation of patient privacy and conflict with HIPAA rules and regulations.

 

HIPAA, (the law that protects us all against unauthorized disclosure of protected health information) can result in fines up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment. The discovery of a “nurse-patient” relationship via Facebook or other social-network could be considered a violation of protected patient or health information.

 

In June of this year, Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside CA fired five nurses for allegedly discussing patient cases on Facebook

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Any questions, please drop me a line.

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Andrew Lopez, RN
Nursefriendly, Inc. A New Jersey Corporation.
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