HIPPA Laws Be Damned

There’s a new hospital opening in town, and this weekend they are showing it off to the public with a big open house. So many RNs running around the place, I was wondering who’s taking care of the patients at the old place, which hasn’t closed yet.

In the fancy, shmansy emergency room area, there’s a big screen on the wall — across from the nurse’s station — listing each emergency room number, patient’s initials, patient’s age, medical reason the patient is visiting today. Why don’t they just put the person’s weight up there too?

And let’s get an audio version too…let’s not overlooked the rights of the hearing impaired to snoop around while hanging out in the emergency room.

Geeezzzz…who thought of this? Have they ever heard of HIPPA laws?

Just about every time someone from our family has been in this hospital’s emergency room, we’ve run into someone else we knew. Now we can just walk down the hall and check out the person’s age and condition. How convenient!

If someone looks vaguely familiar, the age and initials may be just  the information needed to jog your memory.

Heck why don’t they just put a big lighted billboard out front — like the casinos have — and announce the surgeries being performed today, arrival of new babies, shooting victim’s names, etc. Post the newborns’ photos! Dr. Jones – now appearing in the operating room!

Ok, so there’s a private outtake (or whatever they call it) room. That’s nice. But this big screen on the wall is taking technology a bit too far. I would think a small screen behind the nurse’s station would make more sense. BTW..what about those nurses over 50…they probably won’t be able to see the screen from across the room anyway.

The scary thing is…the RN on the tour didn’t think there was anything wrong with having a big screen listing patient’s info.

Have you every been to a bar or restaurant and stared across the room at a TV screen –even though you couldn’t hear the show? Our eyes have been conditioned to look at TV screens — that’s why my dentist was playing some fake talk show TV in his waiting room the other day with an interview promoting teeth whitening or something. Cha ching! Cha ching!

In case you are wondering, this is the new St. Clare Hospital in Fenton, Mo. Maybe some of their officials will visit my blog. I can always use new readers.

Blogging Toms & Flashers

Are we becoming a nation of Blogging Toms and Blogging Flashers? Is this a good thing?

Many people blog about very personal issues…baring their troubles to the world. On one hand, this is a good thing…we can all learn from each other and writing can be very therapeutic for the patient.

However, I do worry about people revealing too much when they blog about very personal aspects of their lives under their real names. It’s like you’re shouting to the world. And if you’re blogging about your children’s troubles, is that fair to them? Are you too quick to pigeon hole them in the eyes of society? Are you revealing just a little too much about them…stripping them of their anonyomity before they come of age? What repercussions could lie down the road?

Most bloggers are private citizens….not celebrities. I don’t think politicians — until they have fallen — would blog their troubles in such a public manner.

I guess blogging is just an evolution from the days of Phil Donahue to Oprah, Dr. Phil and Jerry Springer, and Divorce Court. But those shows don’t always¬†use your last name.

Once you broadcast your troubles….whether they be marital, financial, or health related…..you may not be able to reclaim your privacy should you later decide you want it. In a small town, do you really want to draw additional attention to yourself? Does everyone need to know all of your business? You know people love to talk.

It’s a cold, cruel world out there. It’s also the world of Google. If email never really goes away, what about blogs?

Privacy is not such an old-fashioned value that one should be too quick to discard it.