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MRA Thought of the Day – To Whom and Where Is Faxing A Patient’s Healthcare Information Okay?

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Scenario:

Nilda Tamburello RHIA, Vice President of Release Of Information

Nilda Tamburello RHIA, Vice President of Release Of Information

A patient calls his healthcare facility and wants a copy of his medical records to be faxed to him right away. The patient needs to take the records to the Health Services Department at his college before school commences. The patient does not live in the area and needs this information before he can begin attending classes. Unfortunately, the healthcare facility’s policy does not allow PHI to be faxed to patients.

Here are my thoughts…

  • With the patient’s authorization, the healthcare facility would be able to fax this patient’s medical records directly to the Health Services Department at his college.
  • The Health Services Department at his college may fax a request for this patient’s health information, providing that it is on their letterhead and that the patient is going to be seen.
  • When faxing patient information, you really don’t know if you are faxing to the patient or someone else seeking information.
  • Finally, the patient may pick up this information at the hospital after signing an authorization.

No matter who or where faxes are going, always remember to verify that you have the correct fax number. Before pushing that “send” button, double check that you have punched in the correct numbers on the device you are using.

In accordance with hospital policies, extreme caution should be taken when faxing Statutory Protected Health Information.

Although we always strive to provide the best customer service possible, we also must be very attentive to keeping the confidentiality of our patients as our top priority. Exercise caution when faxing any information.

What are your thoughts?

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