HIPAA: Children in the office

Reproduced from [name of publication] © 2008 HCPro, Inc., 200 Hoods Lane, Marblehead, MA 01945. 781/639-1872. www.hcpro.com. Used with permission.

What if one of your employees on occasions have one of their children stop by the office and the child sometimes waits for the employee in his or her in her office – and this office contains patient charts. Is this a HIPAA violation? How would this pertain to a physician’s spouse who would wait in the physician’s private office where charts could be found?

This should not be a HIPAA violation, if reasonable steps are taken to protect patient privacy. Keeping patient records closed and out of the reach of small children is a good first step. Older children should be educated about patient privacy and the expectation that they will not access confidential information.

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