HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) was enacted in 1996 to legislate the control of health related information for business and tax purposes as well as to provide a legal framework to protect patient information. It is a very broad and complex piece of legislation, but for the purposes of this post, I am only concerned with one specific facet: the protection of privacy with regard to patient health information.
Anyone who acts in a capacity as a health care provider must hold paramount the responsibility of ensuring the privacy of patients medical records.
This is sacrosanct and must be fully understood by anyone administering health care. It is not a difficult concept to understand and would seem to be self-evident – that being said, I fully understand the necessity of enacting this fundamental right into law, and I fully support upholding it. Protecting peoples privacy is a very big deal – I get that, and I take my commitment to honoring that privacy very seriously.
I am an ER nurse, a musician, and an artist. I make things by processing the world around me. I try to constantly learn in order to grow and better understand the world I live in. I do this so I can hopefully contribute something meaningful to this world to the best of my ability.
My interactions as a nurse in a busy inner-city ER provide a rich environment for personal growth, and I am constantly learning from my interactions with both my patients and my colleagues. I do my best to protect the identity of any specific person or event that makes me think deeply about what it means to be a compassionate human, but to not write about these experiences in a general and non-identifiable way would represent a failure of my mission as a human being.
We all move forward collectively, and to communicate lessons learned it is necessary to talk about what it means to be human in an honest, compassionate manner. The specific interactions and examples of human connection that led to an insight must be examined in a thoughtful way so that we may all learn.
It is only through thinking, talking and writing about our experiences that we are able to gain greater insight into what it means to be a fully realized human. Protecting patient information is important, but let’s exercise our judgement and use critical thinking about what exactly this means.
Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.