Patient privacy is a very critical concept in healthcare due to its effect on the entire service delivery. Therefore, it is the responsibility of healthcare professionals to ensure that essential patient information remains confidential unless the patient permits exposure. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a law federal that was implemented to facilitate the protection of sensitive information regarding the health of the patients (CDC, 2018).
Information that can be considered sensitive includes; patient names, addresses, health plan numbers, medical record numbers, telephone numbers, and account numbers, among others that can help in patient identification. To improve on the quality of service delivery on patients, various methods can be used to maintain patient privacy within the healthcare setting. However, care must be taken to avoid advance effect resulting from increased protection of patients’ information.
Methods of Maintaining Patient Privacy
One of the methods to maintain patient privacy is creating comprehensive policies on confidentiality. This method will help maintain patient privacy as all the team members will be mandated to protect upholding patient privacy. Another way is by installing secured information systems which cannot be easily accessed by authorized personnel. Secure information systems cannot be easily hacked by malicious hackers, providing security for confidential patient data or information. The third method that can be used to maintain patient privacy with healthcare institutions is by training the healthcare staff on the importance of patient privacy. Once the team develops a better understanding of the essence of patient privacy, they will be willing to maintain high standards of patient privacy.
Best Practice on Social Media as a Nurse
In the current world, the use of social media has grown to be part of our daily lives. Health professionals have the opportunity to use social media not only for entertainment purposes but also for education. Nurses can best practice social media by ensuring that they avoid sharing any information or photos gained during their interaction with the patients. Instead, they should consider sharing general health information that might help people in improving their health. The American Nurses Association (2019) prohibits nurses from sharing identifiable patient information online.
Social media and HIPAA Regulations
HIPAA regulations were developed way before social media platforms were established. Therefore, there are no specific HIPAA regulations that concerning social media use. However, the use of social media is still regulated by this act because of the rules developed to govern healthcare related communication. According to HIPAA, health care professionals are prohibited from sharing any form of information considered Protected Health Information (PHI) without the patient’s consent (HIPAA, 2021). This rule, therefore, also regulates social media use because nurses cannot publicly share posts involving patient information or images without the patient’s consent.
In conclusion, the protection of important patient information is critical in healthcare. The essence of patient privacy brought about the development of HIPAA federal law, which advocates for the protection of patient privacy. With the advancement of the world, social media use has become part of the world that cannot be avoided. Nurses are encouraged to engage in best social media practices that avoid disclosing their patient’s PHI information to the public. Healthcare institutions can maintain privacy within their facilities by introducing strict policies, training their staff about the importance of patient privacy, and investing in secured information systems. This will aid in establishing a firm trust of health facilities among patients, hence enabling them to disclose critical information freely due to security assurance.
ANA. (2019). ANA social media principles. American Nurses Association. Web.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2018). Public Health Professionals Gateway: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). CDC. Web.
HIPAA. (2021). HIPAA Social Media Rules. HIPAA Journal. Web.