Privacy Officer's Roundtable

COVID-19 patient monitoring

  • 1.  COVID-19 patient monitoring

    Posted 04-27-2020 10:17 AM
    ​Hello, I am curious how organizations are monitoring (if at all) COVID-19 positive patients.

    If your facility uses Epic are you placing COVID-19 positive patients under "Break the glass" or monitoring in another way. What is the rationale for your decision?

    Thanks so much!


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    Erin Jack
    Privacy & Data Ethics Official
    Highmark Health
    Greensburg,PA
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    2020 SCCE Membership


  • 2.  RE: COVID-19 patient monitoring

    Posted 04-28-2020 09:56 AM
    Yes, we place "break the glass" on every patient tested.  We have done this to protect our patients who we believe are highly vulnerable and could be stigmatized during the pandemic.  Off course, are healthcare workers are very concerned about exposure, however, we want to make sure that if they have been exposed they are being notified through our Occ Health process and not from doing their own analysis.  We have had inappropriate access by employees, unfortunately.  We have a product that we use for our auditing - it has the capability to also identify employees who received the break the glass but did not follow with - which is another potential indication of attempt to wrongfully access.

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    Marcia Matthias
    Privacy Officer
    Southern Illinois Healthcare
    Carbondale,IL
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    2020 SCCE Membership


  • 3.  RE: COVID-19 patient monitoring

    Posted 04-28-2020 02:04 PM
    I want to clarify, we place "break the glass on every POSITIVE patient tested.

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    Marcia Matthias
    Privacy Officer
    Southern Illinois Healthcare
    Carbondale,IL
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    2020 SCCE Membership


  • 4.  RE: COVID-19 patient monitoring

    Posted 04-28-2020 05:00 PM
    ​Hi Erin:  We considered placing patients in a restricted category which, essentially placed them behind the glass.  Our rationale for doing so was to reduce the chance of staff looking to see if they cared for the patient, if they were wearing the appropriate PPE, how long were they in the room, etc.  In the end, we changed our minds and decided to not label or restrict the record.  Restricting records extends beyond the encounter and placing them behind the glass permanently was unnecessary.  Also, maintaining this work load was more than we had time for and not value added.  Currently, we do not identify the COVID patients any differently in Epic.  I hope this helps. Ellen

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    Ellen Hampton
    Director, Corporate Integrity, Safety & Risk Management
    Salem Health
    Salem,OR
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    2020 SCCE Membership


  • 5.  RE: COVID-19 patient monitoring

    Posted 04-29-2020 06:55 AM
    In response to Ellen's comments, BTG is not necessarily a permanent control. It can be removed at any time. We automated BTG on our COVID positive patients with the intent to lift that safeguard post crisis. Anyone not safeguarding, monitoring and auditing these records in my opinion should think twice because at minimum your inpatients are likely targets.

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    Brenda Manning J.D., C.H.C., C.H.P.C.
    Privacy Director
    Interim Privacy Officer
    Carilion Clinic

    The views expressed herein are my own and do not represent those of my employer. They are not meant to constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship.
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    2020 SCCE Membership