Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy

14Feb/07Off

Loose ends

A couple things...

1) HIPAA. How does it affect blogging? For example, if I blog about a patient and use no information that could possibly identify them, does that fall under HIPAA regulations? I ask because sometime in the very near future I'd like to start blogging about patient experiences. At what point does telling a story interfere with patient confidentiality? I look forward to your comments, dear readers.

2) I've updated to a new version of WordPress (my blogging software), so hopefully the site will run a bit more quickly. I also moved the sidebars around a bit (I may even end up changing the theme around eventually).

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  1. I work in a government healthcare-related agency where I face HIPAA constraints all the time. I should be able to answer most questions you have.

    You can discuss any cases in your clinic, as long as there is no personally identifying information (names, dates of birth, etc). HIV/AIDS information is especially protected, so be extremely careful with that. But if you’d just like to share some of the weird stuff you’ve seen, I’d just given him/her a nickname and omit anything that would identify them and you will be fine.

    But I’m not a lawyer. :-)

  2. What if they do something particularly unique (like Nair a baby as in one of my previous posts)? That’s got to be the kind of story that people could use to piece 2 and 2 together…

  3. And also, what if your med school finds you? Even if you do something that’s legal, could our med schools still find out about it, hate it, and kick us out or yell at us? Could future employers/res directors possibly google us and find us and not hire us? Ah!! I have been wondering about this too.

  4. I don’t know about the medical school, but as far as HIPAA is concerned there could be lots of Nair babies (which was a hilarious and sad story by the way). No specific names, initals, DOB, etc. I would omit the hospital/clinic you are at as well.

    But a note on HIPAA… as freaked out as everyone is about it, the government hardly does anything about it. Since it got started, there has only been a limited number of complaints, and only a handful of those were even prosecuted. If you want more information, this is a good website:
    http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/finalmaster.html

    You may not be even a covered entity, I think your current work is probably closer to the whole “Doctor/Client Privledge” thing… and ya’ll would know more about that!

    Good luck!


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