[ Wednesday, October 27, 2004 ]
Radiologists and HIPAA: Physical layout issues.
I have a lot of radiologists for clients, and I never cease to be amazed by their reading rooms. Whenever you go into one, there's always "digital wallpaper" of MRI or CT image slices on the monitors, in many instances with patient identifying information on the screen. I've always thought that these rooms represented the prototypical high risk/low risk of an improper disclosure of PHI: it's easy to see the information and the name, but almost impossible for the information to mean anything (to most untrained viewers, such as myself, the images might just as well be satellite weather maps).
Since the effective date of HIPAA, most radiologists have become more conscious about not leaving images on the view screens where they're easily seen. They are particularly good at taking down films and/or turning off viewboxes. However, particularly where multi-slice MRI images are involved, radiologists tend to leave the "digital wallpaper" up. Here's a recent article
on steps radiologists and radiology departments can take to help secure the images from potentially prying eyes.
Jeff [10:14 AM]
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