Preserving privacy with a black marker pen

January 4, 2008

A local hospital notifies us when they've admitted some of our patients by faxing a list of names (normally three or four names at a time) to our office. We make a copy of the page for each patient's chart and then use a marker to black out the other names on the list before filing it. Does this practice violate privacy rules?

A local hospital notifies us when they've admitted some of our patients by faxing a list of names (normally three or four names at a time) to our office. We make a copy of the page for each patient's chart and then use a marker to black out the other names on the list before filing it. Does this practice violate privacy rules?

No, not as long as you obliterate the other names. Otherwise, a patient who requested a copy of his record would receive information about other admitted patients as well, and that would be a breach of confidentiality.

Send your practice management questions to: PMQA Editor, Medical Economics, 123 Tice Blvd., Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677-7664, or send an e-mail to mepractice@advanstar.com (please include your regular postal address).