Missing Device Prompts UVA Medical Center to Issue Notice - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, ...
There are 11 comments on the NBC29 Charlottesville story from Nov 30, 2012, titled Missing Device Prompts UVA Medical Center to Issue Notice - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, .... In it, NBC29 Charlottesville reports that:University of Virginia Medical Center has issued a privacy notice because a handheld electronic device, potentially with patient information on it, is missing.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at NBC29 Charlottesville.
#1 Nov 30, 2012
With all the identifying information that device contained UVA at the least should be offering at least a year of free credit monitoring service for those affected. It's the least they can do beyond that lame apology.
#2 Nov 30, 2012
but uva does not give two poops about their patients, their patients' confidentiality, or its employees for that matter from what i hear and have seen with my own eyes. they should be prepared to do a lot for those folks...but i will believe it when i see it...
#3 Nov 30, 2012
Maybe a UVA Employee took it home by mistake. They might get a pink slip for taking it.
#4 Nov 30, 2012
So what happened, left on roof of car, etc?
#5 Nov 30, 2012
They care about money!
#6 Nov 30, 2012
They are a business and that business is saving lives. Who here has not lost something electronic. It happens. Maybe someone stole it. That happens, too. They are manning up, because it is protocol and because it is in the patients best interest.
#7 Dec 1, 2012
Other than having multiple patients' information on a single device, this breach of privacy is no different than similar breaches happening on a daily basis at many UVA clinics - none of which should be tolerated.
Many clinics ask patients a series of questions each time they check in at their main receptionist counter - while the patient is surrounded by a waiting line of other patients and a waiting room full of even more people all within hearing range.
Patients are asked to verbally confirm out loud their full name, address, telephone numbers, insurance carrier and policy numbers, whether they are disabled, whether they are employed. If the person is disabled, then they are asked even more specific questions about their medical diagnosis - all while standing in a crowded waiting room for everyone to overhear. People can overhear the names of the physician the patient is there to see, as well as the tests they are due to receive. They can learn when their follow-up appointment will be, and therefore when the patient will be away from their home (address which was just announced), etc.
A person's Medicare id number corresponds to their social security number, so in effect UVA has the patients announce their social security number out loud for anyone within earshot. This is no different than the same information as was allegedly released on this device.
Piece all of this information together and you have a substantial amount of personal information about someone for whom you should not have even been allowed to overhear their name.
And just try to tell a UVA receptionist or nurse that you prefer not to announce your private information to the whole waiting room or to everyone standing in line behind you - they will tell you that you are interfering with the intake process and that they are required by law to ask the questions. Perhaps this is true, but they are required by law to ask the questions in a manner that does not breach the confidential nature of the information.
UVA needs to change their patient intake process to be more like that of Martha Jefferson Hospital, who does not appear to be blatantly breaching patient confidentiality laws. MJ intake uses a handheld device where the patient can view their information and respond to the questions on the device, without publicly announcing the information.
The above is a serious matter that UVA is failing to address, and it is a violation of patient privacy. An investigative reporter should write a story on the amount of personal information one could gather simply by sitting in a UVA waiting room.
#8 Dec 1, 2012
This distinction follows UVA's lastest near failing grade in Leapfrog's Hospital Safety.
#9 Dec 1, 2012
Absolutely agree with the comment about privacy -- going through UVA, you hear every detail -- unemployment, disability, dates, numbers, every supposedly private and painful piece of personal data anyone would need. And keeping it private is NOT an option!
#10 Dec 1, 2012
I also agree that there's a lack of privacy!! Let's all sue UVA!!
#11 Dec 1, 2012
I don't think it is necessary for private citizens to sue UVA to enforce what is an already well-established federal law governing patient confidentiality and privacy.
Perhaps a law or medical student could take on the task of recording, with plenty of solid, reliable documentation, the amount of information that is being compromised by the established UVA patient intake procedures. Their intake procedures seem to be a clear violation of the privacy laws, especially in that patients are not given the option to have their intakes done privately.
There are some UVA clinics at Fontaine where the nurse's intake station is not separated from the waiting room except by a partial wall, no door, no privacy. There are waiting room chairs only 10 feet from where the nurse's station is located. The nurse reviews the patient's medications, asks them if they are in pain and need any pain medications, and takes their vitals. Other patients in the waiting room should NOT be able to overhear what medications anyone else is taking.
Again, piecing this all together, a person sitting in the corner of the waiting room could easily overhear another patient's: Name, address, telephone numbers, social security number, Medicare/Insurance id numbers, nature of disability, employment status, name (and specialty) of treating physician, itemized listing of patient's medications, level of pain on a scale of 1-10, whether they need refills or are in pain, weight, bp, and anything else a chatty, friendly patient may naively share with a medical professional at their appointment.
All of this information is protected healthcare information, yet patients are expected, and in fact they are required, to waive their right to privacy. They are "required" to waive their rights, because UVA gives them no other option or means of completing the intake process.
My opinion is that UVA is violating patient's rights as established under federal law by essentially forcing patients to waive their right to privacy.
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