Patient Privacy and Social Media

Patient Privacy and Social Media

Oceanside – A statement by Larry Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, Tri-City Medical Center:

At Tri-City Medical Center, our top priority is ensuring the health and wellbeing of our patients, which includes protecting their privacy. As a fundamental part of that commitment, we provide our employees privacy and confidentiality training when they are hired and later on an ongoing basis. We take our obligation to protect and maintain patient privacy and confidentiality (including compliance with federal HIPAA and California medical privacy laws) seriously, and we do not tolerate violation of our privacy policies.

We recently identified an incident involving hospital employees who used social media to post their personal discussions concerning hospital patients. Promptly after this matter was brought to our attention, we initiated an investigation. The ongoing investigation has not yet identified any evidence that patient names, photographs, or similar identifying information was posted by these employees.

Our investigation yielded sufficient information to warrant disciplinary action. Thus five employees were notified of the District’s intent to terminate their employment and one employee received a lesser form of discipline.

We will take further action to prevent similar incidents, including re-emphasizing, through employee training and education, the hospital’s and its employees’ ongoing commitment and obligation to protect our patients’ privacy.