Friday, July 27, 2007

Snooping on electronic health records

While electronic health records make it easier for employees to snoop on medical records, they also make it easier to catch them. The numbers of employees suspended from this particular clinc for snooping is rather staggering:

Park Nicollet gets tough on snooping in patient files

More than 100 Park Nicollet Clinic employees have been suspended this year for violating federal laws on patient privacy -- mostly by tapping into electronic records of relatives or friends, according to clinic officials.

This week, the clinic notified its 8,300 employees about the suspensions as a reminder of what it calls its "zero tolerance policy" on confidentiality. Already, twice as many employees have been disciplined for privacy violations in 2007 than in all of 2006, officials say. They were suspended without pay for three days.

The problem has surfaced in hospitals and clinics across the nation as they have switched to electronic records. While new technology has made it easier for employees to snoop where they don't belong, experts say, it has also made it easier to catch them....

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