Curiosity Killed the Cat

The media outlets have been on fire with the news of 50 employees terminated from a Chicago area hospital for viewing a celebrities PHI.    There is a very old saying that curiosity killed the cat.  Curiosity can also cause you to lose your job, face criminal charges, court cost, fines & even jail time.

Things to Consider before viewing or accessing PHI!

Do you have a specific need to look up this information?  Employees may access PHI only when necessary to perform their job-related duties!  It makes no difference who or why.  This includes a celebrity, yourself, family, friends & coworkers.  Just because you have the access, it’s not ok to view PHI.  

I did not know that isn’t an acceptable response or reason.  It’ll never hold up in court when it comes to a HIPAA violation!  They say 90% to 95% of all breaches occur due to under-educated or un-educated staff.  This is why it’s so important to share this information over & over & over.  However, some people simply do something anyway!  

Some things to think about:  Did your employees receive initial training & overviews of HIPAA, organizational policies & procedures, etc.  How often do they get a refresher/reminder?  Does your organization use newsletters or educational posters? Do you have 6 years’ worth of training records?  Do you have a current Privacy & Security Risk Assessment on file?  Has it been reviewed, & progress notes made?

MD Technology Services, LLC is available to assist with Risk Assessments, Policy & Procedure reviews, Newsletters & educational posters, or HIPAA awareness overviews.  Please send an email to if you would like more information.