HIPAA message -- Computers as business/academic tools

December 16, 2003

picture disc.HIPAA, the "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996," provides federal protection of patient health information. This message is part of UNMC's continuing effort to educate employees on HIPAA. Today's HIPAA message is on downloading non-busineses related media files at work.

Question: Is it permissible to download non-business related media files such as music, pictures and videos onto my computer at work?

Answer: Executive Memorandum 16 states: "University information systems are to be used predominately for University-related business. However, personal use is permitted so long as it conforms with this policy and does not interfere with University operations or an employee user's performance of duties as a University employee."

Downloaded files have the potential to adversely affect PC functionality by taking up needed disk space and/or introducing malicious code. Additionally, illegally copying files protected by copyright laws puts you at risk for severe financial penalties.

If you're a manager, please ensure that 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.