In the United States we have HIPAA regulations in place to (among other things) prevent healthcare providers, insurance providers, and any other entity that handles medical information from leaking patient information.
From my experience with various HIPAA certifications, it seems pretty stringent. No leak is too small.
So how is it legal for a healthcare provider to pair up two or more patients in a single room, when they are under inpatient care for several days?
I ask this because I recently stayed in the hospital for 2 nights. Never spoke one word to the old guy I was roommates with. When I was discharged, I knew the following details about him:
- his full name
- his DOB
- his medical record # (if I felt like writing it down)
- some of his prior health history (he fought, and won, a battle with colon cancer)
- the reason he was in the hospital now (hasn't pooped in over a week)
- current health concerns (doctors wanted to do a biopsy to make sure the colon cancer wasn't back)
These were all details given verbally by one or many different doctors or nurses over the course of my 3 days, 2 nights in the hospital.
Of course, I'm sure he knows a lot of my details now, too, for the same reason - we were inpatient roommates in the hospital and the doctors used no discretion when discussing my condition.
So how is this legal?