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    HIPAA law and intercom

    Asked Apr 12, 2012, 03:49 PM — 5 Answers
    I work at a pharmacy. For the most part it is a closed pharmacy. We may have three patients per day come in to pick up medicine. The majority of medicine is delivered. We do have vendors and guests however.

    When an employee is in a computer profile of a patient... a second employee cannot access that profile at the same time. Sometimes we need to gain immediate access to a patient profile should the physician have a question on the phone.. . Is it against HIPAA Law to make this type of announcement overhead on the intercom?.

    Example... "If you are in the profile of Wendy Smith please exit now."


    No personal information but the patient's name is given in the announcement.

    Last edited by Wondergirl; Apr 12, 2012 at 04:17 PM.
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    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 61,855, Reputation: 5752
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    #2

    Apr 12, 2012, 06:24 PM


    It probably isn't, but it would be questionable ethically. I can't imagine a pharmacy that big that this would be needed.
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    AK lawyer's Avatar
    AK lawyer Posts: 11,330, Reputation: 881
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    #3

    Apr 12, 2012, 06:42 PM
    Strictly speaking, announcing to vendors and guests that Wendy Smith has a profile might be regarded as a HIPAA violation. Why not say "If you are in the profile of customer no. _____, please exit now."?
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    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 75,720, Reputation: 7217
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    #4

    Apr 12, 2012, 06:59 PM


    Pharmacy in town, announce your prescription is done over the intercom in the store. So any customer there knows I was getting one.. Does not know how that differs
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    AK lawyer's Avatar
    AK lawyer Posts: 11,330, Reputation: 881
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    #5

    Apr 12, 2012, 09:44 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Fr_Chuck View Post
    Pharmacy in town, announce your prescription is done over the intercom in the store. So any customer there knows I was getting one.. Does not know how that differs
    The mere fact that they do it doesn't make it legal. If someone wanted to make an issue of it they might get traction.
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    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 16,527, Reputation: 2333
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    #6

    Apr 13, 2012, 01:02 AM
    Word has it that HIPAA rejects 99.9% of complaints. And I don't think this falls under violations. But I agree that it just doesn't seem necessary when names probably have codes with them and names can be duplicates anyway. Not to mention the intercom could be for the employee area only. Regardless of HIPAA why not respect privacy in general?

    I had to laugh when HIPAA was first a big deal. I would pick up my prescription at a CVS and have to sign a list that might have 2 or 3 names of people I knew on it! (I just squiggled an unreadable signature.)
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