Security is everyone's business -- a weekly HIPAA message

December 03, 2002

picture disc.HIPAA, the "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996," provides federal protection of patient health information. You will be receiving weekly messages to help you understand the topic and how it impacts your job. Today's HIPAA message looks at protecting electronic information.

Questions:

1. Can you identify two ways to protect the information on your computer screen?

2. Who is responsible if a password is "loaned" to a co-worker and it is used to look up information on a friend they are concerned about?

Answers:

1. Turn the screen away from public view. Use a password-protected screen saver that pops up after a few minutes of idle time and hides the information. Log off from a system containing confidential information when you leave the area.

2. Both employees have violated the organization's policy. The owner of the password is ultimately responsible for sharing the password.

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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.