Health Information Management

Q&A: Give verbal reports with caution

HIM-HIPAA Insider, October 13, 2009

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Q. When staff members are familiar with a physician and his or her name is on a pathology report, they normally comply with the request. However, some part-time employees might not recognize a particular physician’s voice. Should we discontinue giving verbal reports by phone?
A. You may continue this practice, in the interest of patient care, but you must take reasonable steps to ensure that the person calling is the physician of record. Employees who don’t recognize a physician’s voice should request a telephone or pager number. Staff members can then verify the number on a medical staff roster or list maintained by the pathology department and call back with the results.
Editor’s note: Mary Brandt, president of Brandt & Associates, Inc., a healthcare consulting firm in Bellaire, TX, answered this question in the September issue of Briefing on HIPAA.

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