Communication Strategies & HIPPA
Hospitals have embraced the use of health technology and electronic gadgets to improve communications among different parties. Some of the electronic strategies preferred for communication with patients include emails through electronic health record platforms, video calls, and telephone communication, among others (Mccorry & Mason, 2020). Communications conducted with patients over electronic platforms have several advantages over a patient visit to the hospital. For instance, these electronic communication strategies are preferred due to their speed and ease of operation (Anastasius, 2016). Patients can communicate with providers at all times, regardless of geographical barriers.
Furthermore, electronic communications are less expensive than office visits (Anastasius, 2016). Importantly, the use of electronic platforms produces electronic documentation of the interaction. The selection of the strategy to apply is based on the target and the message being passed.
The hospital has implemented numerous measures to ensure that the privacy and confidentiality of patient data are protected at all times. These measures include the installation of a secure electronic health recording system (Koontz, 2017). A secure system helps to restrict access to applications and patient health information. This electronic platform requires unique login details that protect the system from access to unauthorized parties (Akhilesh & Möller, 2019). Staff education on patient privacy and confidentiality is also conducted regularly in the hospital. During the training sessions, nurses and other care providers are encouraged to ensure they key in the correct patient data at all points of interaction. Risk assessments are also conducted frequently to ensure patient data is not compromised. These assessments are essential in identifying potential vulnerabilities in the hospital’s security system, gaps in staff education, and other issues of concern (Koontz, 2017).
Akhilesh, K. B., & Möller, D. P. (2019). Smart technologies: Scope and applications. Springer Nature.
Anastasius, M. (2016). Design, development, and integration of reliable electronic healthcare platforms. IGI Global.
Koontz, L. (2017). Information privacy in the evolving healthcare environment. Taylor & Francis.
Mccorry, L. K., & Mason, J. (2020). Communication skills for the healthcare professional enhanced Edition. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Electronic communication would include methods such as email, phones, electronic health records (EHR), and telemedicine. Home health has a unique approach to using electronic communication due to the clinical setting. These nurses are not working in a medical facility with information technology readily available. Home health is defined as the “delivery of intermittent health-related services in patients’ places of residence to promote self-care and independence rather than institutionalization” (Nelson, 2014, p.154). This means that electronic communication used in the homes should be accessible and individualized for the families receiving services.
All patients I have worked with communicate with the organization through phone calls, texts, and emails. Nurses communicate with our organization in the same way with the addition of a mobile app. To maintain patient privacy and confidentiality organizations that work with patient information follows its HIPAA policy. Health information protected under HIPAA includes patient name, social security number, telephone number, email address, street address, and any other patient identifiers. This includes the transmission of such data throughout an organization and applies to anyone involved with the use of health-related data (Edemekong, Annamaraju & Haydel, 2020). Nurses working in my organization only receive information about the patients they are treating. We have no way of accessing the patient’s not on our schedule. The medication administration record (MAR) and plan of care (POC) are sent to the family’s home in paper form for the nurses to use. In some ways, this is a great way to maintain patient privacy due to the limited accessibility of information. However, there have been instances when my patient’s information was sent to the wrong address. In addition, when nurses turn in the paper forms, we place them in a drop box at the organization’s office. Our notes are also dropped off in the same box. Respecting HIPAA would rely on the person emptying the box to ensure all the papers with patient information is taken to the proper person. Doing things this way seems like errors would happen easily. Using more electronic communication in handling patient information would make the home health setting abide by our HIPAA policy more efficiently.
Nelson, states that a trend within home health organizations is the introduction of point-of-care devices to facilitate communication and collaboration. These devices would make “patient records available in the home when care is being provided and capture clinicians’ documentation in real-time, thereby supporting care” (2014, p. 157). I know of other home health agencies that use iPads and work phones to make this possible. Nurses on shift are given these devices to access patient information while in the home, eliminating paper records. Devices are handed in at the end of the shift to guarantee that information is only accessed by appropriate individuals and when necessary.
Edemekong, P. F., Annamaraju, P., Haydel, M. J. (2020) Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK500019/
Nelson, R., & Staggers, N. (2014). Health Informatics: An Interprofessional Approach (2nd ed.). Mosby