April 8, 2010

Health Information Privacy and Security Week, April 11-17

Respect for personal privacy is a basic need and expectation of every individual. Not only is health information a necessity to providing appropriate and quality care to patients but it is to be protected. During Health Information Privacy and Security Week (April 11-17) we recognize those professionals in the Privacy and Health Record Office and Information Security who work diligently on a daily basis to protect and secure very sensitive health information and to ensure that accessibility is only provided to those who need it and no one else.

However, an effective information security program involves all members of the organization. It is more than technology and monitoring – it requires each of us to be aware of the risks involved when accessing, using, modifying and disclosing protected health information. Take advantage of this week to remind yourself and/or your team about the importance of privacy and security of health information in your work area.

Here are a few suggestions for the week:

Sunday, April 11 — Review the Information Privacy and Security Web site for helpful tips and reminders

Monday, April 12 — Reminders: follow best practices for protecting patient health information (review the June 2009 Privacy Buzz) and access to a patient’s medical record is acceptable only in certain situations (review the July 2009 Privacy Buzz)

Tuesday, April 13 — Review the following policies:
Sanctions for Privacy and Information Security Violations (OP 10-40.32)
Confidentiality of Protected Patient Information (OP 10-40.01)
Use and Disclosure of Protected Health Information (OP 10-40.15)
Protection and Security of Protected Health Information (OP 10-40.34)

Wednesday, April 14 — Reminder: do not post patient health information on social networking sites (review the November 2009 Privacy Buzz)

Thursday, April 15 — Reminder: precautions and specific actions must be taken when using electronic messages to communicate patient information (review the April 2009 Privacy Buzz)

Friday, April 16 — Reminder: be careful when faxing patient health information (review the January 2010 Privacy Buzz)

Saturday, April 17 — Reminder: inappropriate access to patient health information has consequences (review the March 2010 Privacy Buzz)

At Vanderbilt, it is everyone’s responsibility to protect each patient's privacy and safeguard their health information because it is the right thing to do, and it is the law.

If you have any questions, please contact the Privacy and Health Record Office at 936-3594 or Privacy.Office@vanderbilt.edu or Information Security at 936-7289.