April 28, 2009 | | Comments 0
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Relaying patient information to third parties during an emergency

The possibility exists during community emergencies (or potential swine flu outbreaks, hmmmm) that your organization will need to pass along sensitive data about patients to outside entities.

EPs 11 and 12 under Joint Commission standard EM.02.02.01 require that hospitals know how and when they will communicate patient information to other healthcare organizations and third parties (e.g., the police).

This can be tricky because of the potential privacy issues, so you’d want to have some element of information security in the plan (though your health information management folks may already have a process for this).

I think the “when” aspect of this requirement would only be applicable during an emergency response of a certain magnitude (that one you’re going to have to figure out for yourself — it could be based on how many local facilities are in the mix, etc.). There would normally be no need to share patient info if it were a small emergency incident.

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Filed Under: CDC/infection controlEmergency management

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Steve MacArthur About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with The Greeley Company in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Briefings on Hospital Safety. Contact Steve at stevemacsafetyspace@gmail.com.

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