File this under "not very surprising" ...
A recent study, published in the journal Health Communication (and abstracted on the Purdue university website) discusses how patient privacy can be casually violated by conversations among health professionals in public spaces:
"Patient privacy at risk in hospitals' hallways, lobbies, cafeterias
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- New health communication research shows that casual conversations in hospital hallways and waiting rooms poses a threat to the confidentiality of patients' medical information.
Research conducted at Purdue University by Maria Brann, assistant professor of communication studies at West Virginia University, and Marifran Mattson, associate professor of communication at Purdue, shows patient privacy is breached when hospital employees talk about patient cases in public areas, such as the cafeteria, or with people outside of work. The researchers' paper appears in the spring issue of the journal Health Communication."
Thanks to the Science Blog for this link.