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*Tip* Remind Workforce Members about Gossip

In a time when so much attention is focused on issues such as cyber security and the dangers posed from evolving technology, it’s easy to forget the HIPAA basics such as the need for workforce members not to gossip or chitchat about patients with other staff members or people in the community. It is easy for staff members to forget where they are sometimes when discussing a patient, but they must remember that this information is protected.

One example of this issue recently came up on a HIPAA listserv with a lively exchange of comments about whether a hospital staff member created a HIPAA breach by talking about a patient with a neighbor. Opinions differed about whether the exact circumstances constituted a breach, but the lesson for the information security officer at Mammoth Hospital in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., was clear: healthcare organizations need to keep up their efforts to provide staff with ongoing privacy education to prevent the kind of gossip that created the potential violation.

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