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Chart access by nurse advocate

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Do you allow nurses to access their families’ EMR if they are not the caregiver, but the family wants them to advocate for them? Of do you require an ROI and send them to Medical Records?

Rochelle Steimel, OTR, MPH
Rights Advisor/Privacy Officer
Munson Healthcare (Traverse City, MI)

Categories : HIPAA Talk


  1. Nancy Smith says:

    We do not allow our employees to access their own, or anyone else’s information if they do not need that information to do their job. We would send them to Medical Records

  2. Cricket says:

    Nurse advocate will need authorization by patient or their legal representative to obtain any health record.

  3. Frank Ruelas says:

    Most of the covered entities that I work with have adopted the position that everyone must follow the same procedure for accessing PHI or ePHI.

    There are a few which have allowed for employees that are also patients of the same covered entity to access their own PHI but this is becoming the exception in what I am seeing out in HIPAA-Land.

    The example you introduced, in my opinion, can be easily cured to everyone’s satisfaction by having the patient or patient’s representative provide an authorization for the nurse to access the PHI. However, unless others are allowed to access ePHI by going directly to the EMR, I would stand by the position that this access would not necessarily equate to the nurse having on demand access to this patient’s EMR.
    – Frank

  4. Jean Szilagyi says:

    I know of a medical doctor, awaiting the results of a breast biopsy, who was not allowed access to her own medical records. The surgeon had to be contacted and he was the only professional who could access the pathology report and subsequrntly call the patient. This is the only problem I see in maintaining the HIPAA regulations.
    Jean Szilagyi, Adjunct Instructor,Long Term Care Laws and Regulations, St. Joseph’s College of Maine

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