A HIPAA message -- Workstation protections

September 23, 2003

picture disc.HIPAA, the "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996," provides federal protection of patient health information. As part of our continuing efforts to educate employees, these HIPAA-related messages will be distributed the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. Today's HIPAA message clarifies whether it's OK to bring in software from home or download it from the Internet.

Question: Is it all right to bring in software from home or download it from the Internet?

Answer: It depends on what organization owns the PC you use:

  • UNMC permits software to be downloaded to support its academic and research mission. If you install software on your PC, ensure that your virus protection software is up-to-date and all operating system critical patches have been applied. In addition, ensure that the software comes from a trusted source.
  • The Nebraska Medical Center and UMA do not permit individuals to download software onto PC's due to the risk of it rendering the workstation inoperable for vital patient care/support activities. If you want software added to your PC, contact your respective IT department.
  • If you are unsure who owns your PC, contact the manager of the area in which the PC is located.

If you're a manager, please ensure all of your employees are informed of the contents of these messages and how it applies to your work area. Some ways of sharing the information include discussions during staff meetings, printing and posting this message or asking your employees if they have any further questions.