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Practicing Medicine Business of Medicine HIPAA Final Rule Safeguarding patient data

Safeguarding patient data

HIPAA compliance

Wondering how to better safeguard your patients' protected health information?

Here are some examples of reasonable safeguards you can implement to protect your patients' privacy.

Note that these examples are not exclusive. To ensure your practice is HIPAA-compliant, always limit your incidental uses and disclosures of PHI.

Bedside and chart information

If you maintain patient charts at bedside or outside exam rooms, display patient names on the outside of their charts or display patient care signs (e.g. “high fall risk” or “diabetic diet”) at the patient’s bedside or by the doors of the hospital room, you can safeguard your practice by:

  • Placing patient charts in their holders with identifying information facing the wall

  • Limiting access to these areas or escorting non-employees in the area

  • Supervising areas where charts are accessible

Verbal communication

If you announce patient names and other information over your public address (PA) system, you can safeguard your practice by:

  • Limiting the information disclosed over the PA system

  • Referring your patients to a reception desk where they can receive further instructions in a more confidential manner

Visual information

If you use X-ray light boards or log patient information on white boards at a nursing station, you can safeguard your practice by:

  • Relocating light boards and white boards to areas not generally accessible to the public.​
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