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Keeping Health Information Secure

Kathleen D. Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L, CMDCP, CDP, CFPS

August 20, 2019

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Question

What are some common tips for keeping health information secure?  

Answer

Social Media: Do not post any patient information or patient photos on any social networking sites.  
Secure Faxing:  Confirm the fax number before dialing. Program frequently dialed numbers into the fax machine. Avoid manual dialing, which may lead to misdirected transmissions. Locate the fax machine in a secure work area. 
Safe Emailing: Confirm the accuracy of the email address. Don’t open, forward, or reply to suspicious emails.  Delete spam. 
No texting of PHI: Texting of patient health information is not allowed, for example: “John Smith on 3rd floor needs skilled PT eval”.
Safe Internet use: Don’t download unknown or unsolicited programs.  Accessing sites with questionable content often results in spam or release of viruses. 
Password Protection: Don’t share your ID or password. Create a strong password of at least 8 characters, with at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, a number, and a punctuation mark.
Conversations:  Discuss a resident’s health information in a private area, only with the resident, the resident’s family, and other healthcare providers involved in treatment. Avoid discussions in elevators or lobbies where others could overhear.
Therapy Department Security: Use locked cabinets/file rooms and limit access to therapy records. 
Discarding of Papers:  Don’t discard papers and other records with PHI in trash bins or unsecured recycle bins.  Shred, or place in secured shredder bins. 
Computer Security:  Log off your computer when done, or if you walk away, even for a few minutes. Don’t install  programs unless approved by IT Support. 
Know where you left your paperwork: Check printers, faxes and copiers when you are done using them. Ensure paper charts are returned to the appropriate area.   
Removal of Records: Don’t remove documentation (paper or electronic records) from the facility for any reason, except copies if needed for invoices and as requested by government agencies, fiscal intermediaries and carriers.
Storage of Records: Maintain records in a secure area that is not available for public view and access.
Building Access: Do not share keys or codes to enter the facility. Immediately report lost or stolen cards, keys or badges. Do not allow others to enter a secure facility area by letting them walk in behind you.
Verification of Requests Related to PHI: Verify with facility staff the identity of any person or organization requesting access to a patient’s PHI. The facility is responsible for determining the person’s authority to have the PHI requested.
Sharing of PHI with an Authorization: Don’t disclose a patient’s PHI to any outside entity, unless the facility has obtained written authorization if required, and given Select Rehabilitation permission to disclose the information.
Disclosure of PHI to Friends and Family Members Involved in a Patient’s Care: When the patient is present and also has the capacity to make healthcare decisions, give the patient an opportunity to agree or object to the disclosure of PHI to friends or family involved in the care, before the disclosure occurs.
 

 


kathleen d weissberg

Kathleen D. Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L, CMDCP, CDP, CFPS

In her 30+ years of practice, Dr. Kathleen Weissberg has worked in rehabilitation and long-term care as an executive, researcher, and educator.  She has established numerous programs in nursing facilities; authored peer-reviewed publications on topics such as low vision, dementia quality care, and wellness; and has spoken at national and international conferences. She provides continuing education support to over 40,000 individuals nationwide as National Director of Education for Select Rehabilitation. She is a Certified Dementia Care Practitioner, a Certified Montessori Dementia Care Practitioner, and a Certified Fall Prevention Specialist.  She serves as the Region 1 Director for the American Occupational Therapy Association Political Action Committee and adjunct professor at Gannon University in Erie, PA. 


Related Courses

Supporting the LGBTQ Senior in Healthcare
Presented by Kathleen D. Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L, CMDCP, CDP, CFPS
Recorded Webinar

Presenter

Kathleen D. Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L, CMDCP, CDP, CFPS
Course: #4096Level: Intermediate2 Hours
  'Excellent research backed information'   Read Reviews
This training describes the required elements for responding to the emerging needs of long term care communities to provide sensitive and respectful services to LGBT elders. The training reviews definitions related to sexual orientation and gender identity challenges experienced by LGBT older adults, and strategies for communication and policies that honor residents' rights. This course is directly related to the practice of physical therapy and is therefore appropriate for the PT and PTA.

Supervising Assistants, Students, and Aides: Upholding Your Ethics in a Challenging Health Care Environment
Presented by Kathleen D. Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L, CMDCP, CDP, CFPS
Recorded Webinar

Presenter

Kathleen D. Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L, CMDCP, CDP, CFPS
Course: #4377Level: Intermediate2 Hours
  'Interesting and well organized presentation'   Read Reviews
This presentation reviews the definitions of supervision as well as APTA guidance related to supervising assistants, students, and aides in various healthcare environments. Documentation guidelines for Medicare are reviewed as these relate to what an assistant can complete versus a therapist. The use of students and rehab aides in long-term care is reviewed in accordance with Medicare guidelines. Real examples of common supervisory ethical dilemmas from the field, including the appropriate action steps to take in each one, are highlighted. This course is directly related to the practice of physical therapy and is therefore appropriate for the PT/PTA

Dementia Management: Techniques for Staging and Intervention
Presented by Kathleen D. Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L, CMDCP, CDP, CFPS
Recorded Webinar

Presenter

Kathleen D. Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L, CMDCP, CDP, CFPS
Course: #3649Level: Intermediate2 Hours
  'Very relatable'   Read Reviews
This seminar provides an overview of types of dementia including characteristics at each stage, protocols for staging clients with dementia and related treatment strategies. Documentation and treatment planning based on dementia staging results is reviewed. Behavior management and communication strategies for this population are discussed as well as techniques for nursing to follow. This course is directly related to the practice of physical therapy and is therefore appropriate for the PT/PTA.

Bullying Among Older Adults: Not Just a Playground Problem
Presented by Kathleen D. Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L, CMDCP, CDP, CFPS
Recorded Webinar

Presenter

Kathleen D. Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L, CMDCP, CDP, CFPS
Course: #4692Level: Introductory1 Hour
  'presentation'   Read Reviews
In this session, participants learn the definition and incidence of bullying in adult living communities and day centers, including what older adult bullying looks like in this population. Characteristics of older adult bullies, as well as their targets and gender differences, are explored. The reasons why bullying occurs, as well as the five different types of bullies, are defined. Interventions for the organization, the bully, and the target are reviewed to help communities minimize (and prevent, where possible) bullying and mitigate the effects on the target. Addressing bullying behavior among older adults is critically important for enhancing the quality of life and promoting emotional well-being; strategies to create caring and empathic communities for all residents and staff members are reviewed.

Ethics: A Clinical Perspective for Therapists
Presented by Kathleen D. Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L, CMDCP, CDP, CFPS
Recorded Webinar

Presenter

Kathleen D. Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L, CMDCP, CDP, CFPS
Course: #4693Level: Intermediate3 Hours
  'Well paced with logical progressions through the topics'   Read Reviews
This seminar provides practical information about ethics from a clinical perspective. Basic principles of ethics as they relate to healthcare and physical therapy are reviewed. Behaviors that are considered unethical by most credentialing bodies are considered, as well as health care/therapy codes of ethics. The CELIBATE and RIPS methods for analyzing ethical dilemmas are reviewed with case studies to demonstrate use.

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