In some office situations, your information may be shared, inadvertently seen or overheard, compromised, or inferred. Dr. Crane is protective of patients and concerned about confidentiality, so her private practice is structured to avoid issues that arise as a byproduct of administrative efforts to increase physician reimbursement or comply with insurer requirements. It's your private medical information, so if you don't like how it's being shared, follow up with your own physician about it. So how can your information be inadvertently shared? Check the list below. 

Submitting your information to insurance companies.

Authorizations for insurance payment, which typically involve sharing your confidential information with a minimum of four individuals per authorization.

Outside transcription services, which includes your name, treatment, and diagnosis.

Submitting your information to a billing service, which includes your name, treatment, and diagnosis.

Clerical staff and Physician Assistants working with your physician.

Front desk staff taking payments in a public area such as a reception desk.

Submitting your information for medical research.

Trainees or students observing your physician.

Pharmaceutical representatives in the office.

Team meetings required in government, hospital, and group practices.

Online patient charting systems with medical information accessible by multiple staff.

Double and triple booking of patients.

Clinic reviews of the cost of your medical care.

Your physician is busy and runs behind schedule while you wait in a crowded room.

Untidy offices where charts are left out or unsecured.

Physicians or patients answering their phone during an appointment.

Answering service personnel.

Front desk staff making phone calls in the presence of other patients.

Medical charts stored in an area accessible to clinic staff.

Clinics employing clerical workers to file and retrieve medical charts.

Clinics employing couriers to transport and retrieve medical charts.

Online transmission of prescriptions by physicians.

Shared computers with access to patient records.

Computer, Wi-Fi, email, and texting security breaches.

Physicians or staff who neglect to log out of computerized charting systems.

Online medical charting and communication security breaches.

Online insurer security breaches.

Front desk staff calling out names in a busy reception area.

Office-cleaning personnel with access to medical records areas at night.

© Dr. Shari J. Crane, M.D. 2012