6 things you need to know about home recording (1 of 6)



6 Things You Need to Know About Patient Privacy Rights

A TV show filmed in the ER without the patient’s permission raises important questions.

By Erinn Connor

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At teaching hospitals, medical students often observe patients.
At teaching hospitals, medical students often observe patients.
Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

Hospitals are public places where very private things happen. But for relatives of Mark Chanko, the family’s private loss became very public in an unexpected way.

In 2011, Chanko was hit by a truck in New York City. He was taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where doctors were unable to save his life. Chanko’s treatment at the hospital was filmed and later broadcast as part of a medical reality TV show called NY Med, although neither he nor his family ever granted permission.

Chanko’s widow discovered all this months later, when she happened to catch an episode of NY Med. While her husband’s face was blurred, Anita Chanko recognized his voice. The hospital defended its actions, saying that all identifiable information about Chanko was “completely obscured.”

The incident raises questions about patient privacy and healthcare providers’ responsibilities to disclose certain kinds of information. Here are 6 things you may not know about your rights when you are treated in a hospital or doctor’s office.

1. Can medical students observe me as a patient?

Yes, they can. Particularly if you are receiving care at a teaching hospital, notice that students are learning under supervision to improve their skills is included in the Notice of Privacy Practices given to all patients.

“With an alert patient, the medical student and attending [physician] would introduce the student, define their role, and ask for permission for involvement,” says Rebecca Parker, chair of the board of the American College of Emergency Physicians and an attending emergency physician at Presence Covenant Medical Center in Urbana, Illinois.

2. What medical information is actually protected?

The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was signed into law in 1996. It protects certain health information, such as health status, what healthcare you receive, and payment information. You have control of this information and who you would like to have access to it. For example, you may designate someone who you would allow to get information about your condition if you are in the hospital.

The only time someone may be able to get some medical information about you is if they are involved in caring for you or in paying for your healthcare. “Even then, it’s going to be the minimum necessary information needed to take care of you when you get home or a pay a bill,” says Lawrence Hughes, assistant general counsel for the American Hospital Association.

In response to media inquiries about a patient’s condition, hospitals are permitted to release a one-word description such as good, serious, or critical.

3. Who has access to my digital medical records, besides my doctor?

Typically, a patient has to give permission for the sharing of any records or test results. If you go to a gynecologist, for instance, your general practitioner will not know what procedures or tests you had done unless you sign a release.

Emergency situations may be an exception. “If I see a patient suspected of having a heart attack, and I need to locate a previous electrocardiogram (ECG) to compare the current ECG to, I can call the physician that the patient saw and they can send me the previous ECG without permission.”

4. Could I end up on a healthcare provider’s Facebook or Twitter page?

You should not, but it does happen. “It is not allowed,” Dr. Parker says. “We have seen providers terminated from positions if this occurs… [and] there’s been more awareness and training on this as this escalates.”

Most hospitals have policies regarding this issue. For example, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s policy states: “Exercise discretion, thoughtfulness and respect for our patients, caregivers, colleagues and business associates… Never discuss the details of patient or caregiver interaction; HIPAA applies in all cases."

5. Do I have the right to request that I speak with a healthcare provider in private, as opposed to in a waiting room, in a hallway, or at a reception desk?

If you are uncomfortable about discussing your condition or treatment where others may overhear, tell the doctor or nurse. Most hospitals and clinics have small rooms for consultations or conversations between doctors, patients, and loved ones.

Some situations, such as an emergency, may not allow for optimal privacy. “A private conversation may not be possible in an emergency treatment area,” Hughes says. “Doctors are conscious of this and take precautious that there isn’t any unnecessary overhearing of sensitive information.”

6. Can a medical show film me or family members without my permission?

In the Chanko case, the New York State Health Department said the hospital violated the patient’s rights and its own privacy policy, but no sanctions were imposed. “The patient was unaware and uninformed that he was being filmed and viewed by a camera crew while receiving medical treatment thus his privacy in receiving medical treatment was not ensured,” according to the citation.

RELATED:5 Ways to Avoid a Trip to the ER

Earlier this year, it was revealed that three Boston-area hospitals agreed to allow staff and patients to be filmed for a TV show.  However, the hospitals signed contracts that require patients’ consent before their stories could be broadcast. The agreement allows patients to withdraw consent up to 30 days after the last filming, but what would happen if they wanted to withdraw consent after that is unclear.

If a patient arrives in the emergency room unconscious and unaccompanied, granting permission in advance of filming may not be possible. But if you suspect that you may have been filmed in the hospital, ask if they are planning on using the footage and for what purpose.






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Date: 12.12.2018, 15:11 / Views: 92492