Health Information Management

What does HIPAA say about faxing patient information?

HIM-HIPAA Insider, October 1, 2001

A: What does HIPAA say about faxing patient information?

Q: HIPAA does not address faxing patient information specifically, but, like any form of health information, it is protected under the privacy rule. Health care professionals need to understand that faxed patient information can easily fall into the wrong hands, which would be a violation of privacy.

If you do fax patient information, make sure you are faxing it to a dedicated fax machine in a secure location and make certain that the person the information is being faxed to actually receives the fax. If you know you will receive a fax that contains patient information, tell the person faxing the information to warn you ahead of time so that you can be present to receive it.

Do not let faxed patient information lie around a fax machine unattended. Immediately dispose of or file faxed information before others can see it.

Editor's note: From HIPAA Training Handbook for the Nursing/Clinical Staff: An Introduction to Confidentiality and Privacy under HIPAA. For more information or to order, click here or call Customer Service at (877) 727-1728.

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