Friday, June 15, 2007

A Script for the Sopranos (courtesy of HIPPA)

HIPPA, which stands for something, is a federal law which attempts to protect patient privacy and confidentiality. Now it's not as if it wasn't protected before, it's just that with paperwork in trash cans, phone calls inquiring about patients, and talk in hallways and elevators there was a concern, and no doubt, some real instances, where sensitive patient information got into the wrong hands. Enter the bull in the china shop known as the federal government.

Without getting into the law's specifics or requirements (because I care about as much about it as I do about whom Paris Hilton is currently boning) I offer you a typical conversation between physicians about a patient in accordance with HIPPA (and the Sopranos).

Doc 1: "Hey doc, did you take care of that thing with that guy?"

Doc 2: "Which guy was that?"

Doc 1: "You know, the guy with the thing on his hoo-ha?"

Doc 2: "Oh yeah, the guy from the other day?"

Doc 1: "Yeah, that guy."

Doc 2: "We took care of it."

Doc 1: "Any problems?"

Doc 2: "Not really, but his family... geez, they are a problem!."

Doc 1: "Anything I need to know about?"

Doc 2: "If you see them again and you have a problem give me a call and one of my associates or I will take care of it."

Doc 1: "Good to go. We are talking about that fat young guy right? I mean the young male 'person of mass'?"

Doc 2: "No, damn, I was talking about the thin old guy."

Doc 1: "I don't know him."

Doc 2: "Oh."

Doc 1: "Never mind."

Doc 2: "See you later."


  1. With nurses, we've gone back to our "high school ways" and are simply whispering in each others' ears.

    This has two effects, the same of which occurred in high school:

    1) The other girls nearby get mad because they're not "in on the secret" and think they're not "popular";

    2) All the nearby guys become turned on, thinking we're talking about our panties or something....

  2. heh-heh.

    How do you spell HIPPA ? P-A-R-A-N-O-I-A-.

    I think it is overkill. You usually don't name names ANYWAY. The nurse - or doc - will say - patient in bed 3 or in trauma A.

    The only time media type would be likely to dig through trash cans for info. MIGHT be if it was a celebrity.

    And that hasn't happenned yet in our hospital, 'cause we aren't near Hollywood.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment yesterday. I like what I'm reading here. Going to add you to my links !

  3. HIPAA--the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act--is at times a royal pain in the butt for all involved in any way with an episode of care...I got pounded with it relentlessly as a student of HIM (aka medical records), and have seen the resulting increase in paperwork as a patient, too. It had good intentions, but the complexity of HIPAA has proven to cause more headaches than it solves.