Fail to take appropriate steps to curb incidental uses and disclosures of PHI, and you could easily find yourself running into a brick wall of irate patients and potential HIPAA violations.
So what is an incidental use or disclosure? Basically, it’s a disclosure of protected health information to somebody who’s not supposed to have it, but it’s incidental to performing your day-to-day operations, experts say. One of the most common examples of an incidental disclosure would be one patient overhearing a PHI-laden conversation in an adjoining room between a physician and another patient.
Such incidental disclosures are permitted under HIPAA’s final privacy rule, but only if two very important conditions are met.
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