Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wikileaks, are you next?

I had originally set out on a blog about the wikileaks. Then as I discovered more and more about it, I realized I had it wrong. So that's a blog for another time, but what got me started was the headline of many articles suddenly diving into the leaking of secure information and whether or not a business is at risk.

Back home several years ago, we had a teenager who hung themselves and didn't die for several days. There were many employees who felt they were doing no harm in looking up the medical chart of this patient. Claiming sheer curiosity, they wanted to see what happened to this child who lived near them, or went to school with their kids... They all had excuses and reasons, until they were fired.

The facility in turn decided to police all log ons and computer use. They warned everyone that it is never appropriate to look up a patients records unless you are directly involved in their care. They strictly enforced this and access to your OWN records. That meant looking up your own labs, mri's... were all restricted and in fact would be penalized.

The funniest was my mom. Mostly she would say "so and so is in the hospital, you should go see them while you're at work", but she used to ask "how is so and so?" I guess she followed my lead after she realized that all I will give out is the same medical status that the media and public have access to, critical, gaurded, stable.....

The bottom line was, it's WRONG!! I have unlimited access everyday to private medical records and I don't abuse it. In fact I do everything I can to protect it. It's also why I rarely write about a patient. I can neuter their gender with a "they", "themselves".... I can hide their identity behind initials K.B., B.G......, although I prefer pt x. It's just even further detached from the original person. I read many blogs from nurses who've blogged about patients and take the least precautions. It would be different if I had only medical professionals as readers. I might blog more about patients, but for now it's really just to explain how important life is and that your loved ones aren't here forever.

So is your business next?


  1. Thats scary makes me wanna go beat some doctor up. They make enough money to repair themselves in a jiffy anyway

  2. Interesting. I honestly had never thought about it and I’m guilty of being the snub who asks if they know anything. Recently a person I knew had their child in emergency care and my sister-in-law works at the hospital where he was at. I think I asked a million times the status of him. She honestly didn’t know, but now that I read your blog, your right. It’s none of my business. And if I was in the hospital I wouldn’t want people to know what they shouldn’t too.

  3. I work for the Dept. of Health. I'm in the area that licenses all medical personnel and facilities for the entire State of TN. In I.T., I have access to a system that has copies of documents and that sort of thing on various medical people but I know that having that access is a huge responsibility and as such, I stay away from nosing into it. It can be tempting at times, but I know that sort of thing can be monitored and it's not worth risking my job...or worse. HIPAA laws bring even more serious consequences for things like that.

  4. "They all had excuses and reasons, until they were fired..." <- That's a great line and ALWAYS is how those occurrences go down!!

    I think our mothers are either kinfolk or lived in nearby towns, b/c during the first few yrs. post-HIPPA, my mom would routinely present me w/similar rhetoric scenarios. No longer an issue, but remembering back on them now, I always was amused by them b/c they'd make me smile to myself or chuckle on the inside. "So-and-So hit a deer...had to be cut out from his he had to have surgery...told his aunt's stepdaughter's pool boy that you might could update 'us' if he came thru your recovery shift...blah blah blah..."

    HIPPA's become the antichrist for the gossip culture of every small town. lol