INFOBYTES: HIPAA guidelines for using PDAs

November 2005 
Volume 35  Number 11
Pages 24 - 24
  PDF Version Available!



A WEEK AFTER I got a PDA (personal digital assistant or handheld computer) to use as a pocket drug guide and clinical calculator, I was called to see the nursing supervisor.

“You shouldn't be using your PDA given the HIPAA privacy regulations,” she told me. Only after I explained that my PDA contained no information that would reveal patients' identities was she reassured. Do you know if your clinical use of your PDA is in compliance with the law?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) requires that you recognize and protect oral, written, and electronic information that could reveal a patient's identity and health-related information, also called protected health information (PHI). Any health data that are connected to a patient's identifying information—names or numbers—are considered PHI.

With violation fines ranging from $100 to $250,000, administrators ...

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