An investigation by a Department of Health representative in response to a complaint from a medical center patient concluded that EHMC violated HIPAA standards as it relates to the use of “whiteboard communications.”
The Department of Health found that placing the following information on the whiteboard is a violation of patient’s rights:
- activities/plan of care
- activity level
- fall risk
- pain assessment/goal/and documented interventions
- assistance required
- anticipated diagnostics and reminders
- family contact and phone number
EHMC must put in place a correction plan and revise the guidelines for the use of whiteboards and educate all staff to same. The corrective plan is to include an ‘opt out’ for patients not to have information posted on his/her whiteboard. For now, just list room number, date, and care team information until you are educated on the required changes.
Nurses should take solace in the fact that we were right in questioning the violation of patient confidentiality regarding the use of whiteboards.