Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cell Phone Policy in Health Care

Cell Phones in the Workplace

Q: Does HIPAA have any regulations on the use of cell phones in the workplace?

A: Currently, HIPAA has NO Regulations regarding the use of cell phones by employees or patients. However, with the advances in technology, it would seem inevitable that HIPAA will eventually hand down regulations to ensure the security and privacy of Protected Health Information.

If your practice allows the use of cell phones, you may wish to use the examples below to establish a “Cell Phone in the Workplace” policy to ensure cell phones do not become a distraction, or pose a risk for unauthorized disclosure of Protected Health Information.

1. Cell phone settings should always be set on silent.
A ringing cell phone is a distraction. Employees with cell phones should ensure that while at work, all phones are set on vibrate or silent settings.

2. Cell phones should only be used while on-break.
Employees should only review messages and return calls while on-break and away from their workstation.

3. Text-Messaging should only be done while on-break.
Employees should only review and send text-messages while on-break and away from their workstation.

4. Refrain from taking photographs with your cell phone.
Taking photographs with your cell phone can present a risk for unauthorized disclosure of Protected Health Information.

5. Cell phones should never be brought to a meeting.
Bringing a cell phone into a meeting is a sign that you are not completely committed to the topics at hand. Even if your phone is set on silent, you may be tempted to check your messages, etc.

6. Never use a cell phone in the bathroom. 
This policy is self-explanatory. The sounds overheard in the bathroom could be seen as invasion of privacy.