Friday, March 6, 2009

HIPPA'ed Intraoperative radiology

In a stroke of high tech brilliance our hospital now has all digital xrays. All you have to do is pull them up on the computers in the operating rooms. In the old days, you put all the films on the viewing boxes so that in the surgical case you could look over and see all the films. Now, you have to pull them up on the computer. Of course on the computer to look at the different films you have to just scroll through them. Oh, wait a minute. If you are operating you are sterile so you have to have someone scroll through the films for you! To add to the confustion, HIPPA is concerned that someone might accidentally see the films so the computer goes to sleep and you must re-enter the passwords to see the films every few minutes. This ties up the circulating nurse up as she now is the "mess with the computer nurse" in addition to other duties of constantly filling out the JACHO paperwork. Then of course, the computer decides to not talk to the server and crashes when it tries to autoupdate in the middle of the case. I never had the old xrays and ct films "crash" in the middle of the case. I did have one fall on the floor once. The nurse just picked it up and rehung it. When the computer crashes she has to reboot it, call tech support (in India) and spend an hour trying to fix the problem. The last case, I had to unscrub and go to radiology to look at the films on the main system because the whole thing had crashed. Of course it was an emergency case in the middle of the night. Aint technology wonderful, especially when the government gets involved!


SeaSpray said...

Your posts are back! They disappeared earlier.

This must be so frustrating... particularly mid surgery! That can't be too good for the patient.

I am beginning to think HIPAA doesn't mean a darn thing... except that the provider can be sued if they cause a breach in confidentiality and someone complains.

As a patient, I am greatly disturbed that how doctors document in their notes can potentially hurt a patient. I worried about something that was a misunderstanding at the hospital last summer and I am still not sure it is alright. And if the info is erroneously in there it could really hurt me. Medical staff really should be careful how they document.

Then recently, while talking with my PCP over my lost records..we began talking about his using an EMR system in the office. He told me that he is careful what he puts down for a dx. (I never knew this was a concern) He said he puts not drinking now, instead of labeling pt with alcoholism. He said something about not putting in anxiety or depression and I forget the others. I was shocked actually. Then I got all squirrelly, but didn't tell him because then I wondered about things I have told a couple of docs that I absolutely would not if I couldn't trust how they document. The final straw was reading this recent post and comment thread by Scalpel.
"Self-censoring the Medical Record"

I feel that if you can't trust the physician to look out for you with your personal information..then who can you trust and I now feel like withholding in the future.

They were saying that there are ways your personal info can get out and harm you.

I thought HIPAA was supposed to protect us.

I thought even before HIPAA our medical info was private.


Oh and no news on my med records... but you know..according to the nurse..."They did not leave the office".

Because pf my lost med rec debacle...I am for EMRs, but when I hear now that potentially harmful information can follow you everywhere... erroneously effecting treatment negatively or compromising your insurance in the future or employment or God knows what... it is disturbing.

I am not the paranoid type...although I feel like I am becoming jaded with some things.

I hate the feeling of feeling like you have to be on guard because someone may cause you harm. I like being happy go lucky and seeing the good in everyone but am learning...things just don't work that way.

Oh heck...I had to grow up sometime! :)

The Happy Hospitalist said...

You bring up an intriguing situation. Thanks for that insight.

FYI, I think it's HIPAA (Health Information Portability and Accountability Act)