Corporate Compliance

Q&A: Protect patient information at nursing kiosks

Compliance Monitor, September 29, 2010

Q:  We are planning to install wall-mounted kiosks in our skilled nursing facility to help nursing assistants document care. How does HIPAA apply? 

A: These kiosks must protect patient information. If the kiosks contain computers that are used to document care in an electronic medical record, security requirements apply. Staff members should be required to log off when they leave a workstation, rather than leave the computer active. Computers should also be set to log off automatically after a brief period of inactivity.

If the nursing assistants use the kiosks for paper-based documentation, they should never leave patient identifiable information at the kiosk. Kiosks may contain blank forms nurses can use for documentation, but they should take completed documentation to the nurses’ station to be incorporated into the patient’s record.

Mary D. Brandt, MBA, RHIA, CHE, CHPS, answered this question in the October 2010 issue of the HCPro newsletter Briefings on HIPAA. For more information about this newsletter visit the HCMarketplace.

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