Recently, Monica Donahue’s 19 year old daughter received a Facebook friend request and the story made the Grand Rapids Press. Surprised? I wouldn’t doubt it, because hardly ever does a Facebook friend request make the news. However, when the friend request is from a hospital security guard a day after a visit to that hospital and is in violation of HIPAA standards; it becomes a much bigger deal. HIPAA, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 was established to protect patient’s confidentiality, security and health insurance rights.

This recent example illustrates that HIPAA compliance comes in many forms! In the recent years as social media has exponentially grown in popularity, more cases related to HIPAA and social media have surfaced. Fines have also resulted after medical businesses have not taken proper care to dispose of medical records. Or perhaps, a doctor faxed a medical document to the wrong fax number and personal information was exposed.

Violation of HIPAA Standards could potentially result in fines, criminal prosecution, loss of customers, a tainted reputation, and possibly loss of the practice.

As part of our i3 ReliabilITy R3 service to our medical clients, i3 is vigilant about HIPAA risk and security mitigation and education.

In response to the situation of Monica Donahue’s daughter, the hospital is taking the proper steps and reeducating the employees. Don’t forget to educate your employees to the use of any patient data, relationship, or communication.  Knowledge or use of patient data or practice relationship can be construed as a data breach.  Share this post to appropriate employees and add your own personal warning.

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