Health Information Management

Q&A: Privacy and surgery observation

HIM-HIPAA Insider, March 8, 2011

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Q. What are the requirements for observing surgery? The observer is neither an employee, family member, medical professional, nor medical student.

A. Observers outside these categories probably should not be allowed to observe surgical procedures. Observers not involved in a patient's treatment or healthcare operations (including students in educational programs) should be allowed to observe a procedure only with written permission from the patient. Many facilities also ask observers to sign a confidentiality agreement. 

Editor’s note: Mary D. Brandt, MBA, RHIA, CHE, CHPS, vice president of HIM at Scott & White Healthcare in Temple, TX, answered this question in the March issue of Briefings on HIPAA.



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