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Updated: Jan 22

Permissible Practices/Reasonable Precautions

At the end of this training, you will be able to utilize reasonable precautions to minimize the chances of incidental disclosures to others who may be nearby, as recognized by the Privacy Rule.

Permissible Practices I (Confidential Conversations between providers and with patients)

  • Health care staff may orally coordinate services at hospital nursing stations

  • Nurses or other health care professionals may discuss a patient’s condition over the phone with the patient, a provider, or a family member.

  • A health care professional may discuss lab test results with a patient or other provider in a joint treatment area.

  • A physician may discuss a patients’ condition or treatment regimen in the patient’s semi-private room.

  • Health care professionals may discuss a patient’s condition during training rounds in an academic or training institution.

  • A pharmacist may discuss a prescription with a patient over the pharmacy counter, or with a physician or the patient over the phone.

Permissible Practices II- (Administrative)

  • A provider may instruct an administrative staff member to bill a patient for a particular procedure, and may be overheard by one or more persons in the waiting room.

  • A health plan employee discussing a patient’s health care claim on the phone may be overheard by another employee who is not authorized to handle patient information.

Reasonable Precautions

  • Using lowered voices when sharing protected health information (PHI).

Reasonable efforts made to avoid being overheard, and reasonable limitations to the information being shared.


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