NURS FPX 4040 Protected Health Information (PHI): Privacy Security And Confidentiality Best Practices Essay Example

NURS FPX 4040 Assessment 2: Protected Health Information (PHI), Privacy, Security, and Confidentiality Best PracticeNURS FPX 4040 Assessment 2: Protected Health Information (PHI), Privacy, Security, and Confidentiality Best Practice

NURS FPX 4040 Protected Health Information (PHI): Privacy, Security, and Confidentiality Best Practices Assignment Brief

Course: NURS FPX 4040 Managing Health Information and Technology

Assignment Title: Assessment 2: Protected Health Information (PHI): Privacy Security And Confidentiality Best Practices


This assignment asks you to explore the details of keeping Protected Health Information (PHI) safe in healthcare settings. Your job is to create a team update focusing on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations and best practices for ensuring privacy, security, and confidentiality, especially when using social media in healthcare.

Understanding Assignment Objectives:

The main goal of this assignment is to check how well you can describe the role of nurses and interdisciplinary teams in using technology for patient care. You need to find practical strategies for managing PHI and communicate important information in a professional way.

The Student’s Role:

As a student working on this assignment, your role is to act like a healthcare professional sharing important information about protecting patient data. You need to understand and explain the laws related to PHI, especially the ones about teamwork. Your task is to find practical ways to lower risks, especially when using social media in healthcare.

You’ll be creating a professional and effective team update to teach other healthcare professionals about keeping patient data safe. This includes providing information about PHI, explaining privacy, security, and confidentiality concerns related to healthcare technology, and talking about why teamwork is important for keeping electronic health information safe.

You’ll also need to do some research to support your team update, making sure the information is current and fits the best practices mentioned in the assignment instructions.

This assignment is a chance to show you understand important healthcare rules, can communicate well in a professional setting, and follow ethical standards when dealing with patient information.

NURS FPX 4040 Protected Health Information (PHI): Privacy Security And Confidentiality Best Practices Essay Example


Back in 1996, the government introduced the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to safeguard people’s health information (CDC, 2018). This law gives individuals certain rights and protections when it comes to their health data. HIPAA lays down the rules for how businesses handling health information, like healthcare providers, should use and share Protected Health Information (PHI). PHI includes any information about a person’s current, past, or future physical or mental health. It can be data collected by healthcare providers, health plans, public health authorities, employers, or other healthcare service providers (HIPAA, 2018). This data involves things like names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, account numbers, clinical details, and diagnoses.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of healthcare, the safeguarding of Protected Health Information (PHI) is paramount. This paper aims to educate the interprofessional team on the importance of privacy, security, and confidentiality, particularly in the context of social media use. The recent incident of a colleague’s inappropriate social media post underscores the need for a comprehensive understanding of HIPAA regulations and best practices.

Understanding PHI and HIPAA Laws & Regulations

The HIPAA Security Rule, according to Gatehouse (2020), lays out the national standards for keeping electronic health info (ePHI) safe. It says that organizations dealing with health info must take necessary steps to stop anyone from getting unauthorized access to, misusing, or revealing ePHI. If there’s a situation where unprotected health info is at risk, the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule requires these organizations to tell the people affected (Heath et al., 2021). Not just that, they also need to inform the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and sometimes even the media, following the Rule. And if an organization breaks these HIPAA Rules, the HIPAA Enforcement Rule explains how HHS will investigate and penalize them. This could include fines, corrective plans, or even legal actions, as mentioned by Moore and Frye (2019).

Best Practices for Privacy, Security, and Confidentiality

The rules already discussed above give a strong base to protect sensitive electronic health info. When it comes to covered entities (like healthcare providers), these laws say they need to put in sensible and necessary measures. The goal is to stop anyone who has no permission to access electronic health info (ePHI) from doing so. And if someone breaks these HIPAA rules, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) can step in with legal actions to make things right. This way, people can have control over their own health info (HHS, 2018).

Interdisciplinary Collaboration for Data Security

Working together from different areas is super important to keep electronic health info (ePHI) safe. This interdisciplinary collaboration means folks from various fields team up to make sure patient data stays secure and follows all the rules about privacy and security (Beckmann et al., 2021).

Take for instance a team with different specialists like a privacy officer, IT expert, legal advisor, and a health information guru. This dream team can help a healthcare company set up rules (policies) to keep ePHI safe. They might use things like access controls and encryption to make sure only the right people can get to the data. And if something goes wrong, like a data breach, this team can also come up with a plan to fix things up (Beckmann et al., 2021).

Evidence-Based Approaches to Reduce Risks for Patients and Healthcare Staff

In the context of utilizing social media with sensitive electronic health information (ePHI), implementing evidence-based strategies is crucial to mitigate risks for both patients and healthcare staff (Health, 2022). One significant approach is the establishment of a comprehensive social media policy that delineates guidelines for interacting with patients and imposes restrictions on sharing private information. This policy serves as a foundational framework to govern appropriate behavior on social media platforms.

In addition to policy development, ensuring secure communications is paramount. Utilizing services that are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and incorporate encryption guarantees the safety and confidentiality of electronic data. Educating employees about the risks associated with social media usage and emphasizing the importance of safeguarding private electronic health records contributes to enhanced awareness and adherence to privacy standards.

Continuous monitoring of social media accounts is an essential practice to identify and rectify any improper information promptly. This involves ensuring that staff members comply with established rules and regulations governing social media usage. Furthermore, limiting access to sensitive electronic health information to only those individuals who require it for their duties minimizes the risk of unauthorized exposure.

Implementing authentication procedures to verify the identity of individuals accessing sensitive data adds an extra layer of security. Establishing robust auditing and monitoring mechanisms aids in the detection of any unauthorized access or attempted breaches of sensitive information. Staying updated with the latest best practices for safeguarding private electronic health information is imperative to adapt to evolving security standards.

Effective Training for Team Members

As healthcare providers, the responsibility to ensure the security, privacy, and confidentiality of patient data, particularly in the realm of social media use, falls upon us (Arigo et al., 2018). Adhering to stringent standards of patient confidentiality is paramount, and medical practitioners utilizing social media should adhere to specific guidelines.

Firstly, healthcare professionals should refrain from engaging in speculation or criticism of patients on social media platforms. Secondly, disclosing information about a patient’s health or treatment on social media is strictly discouraged. Never publishing any patient-identifying information on social media, including images, is a foundational principle. Social media should not be utilized to request or receive patient information, and healthcare providers should avoid disclosing any patient data or confidential information to individuals outside the healthcare team.


In conclusion, maintaining the privacy, security, and confidentiality of patient information is a collective responsibility. This paper aims to empower the interprofessional team with the knowledge and strategies needed to navigate the challenges presented by social media in healthcare. By fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and adhering to evidence-based practices, it is possible to collectively ensure the protection of sensitive electronic health information.


Almaghrabi, N. S., & Bugis, B. A. (2022). Patient confidentiality of electronic health records: A recent review of the Saudi literature. Dr. Sulaiman al Habib Medical Journal, 4(4).

Basil, N. N., Ambe, S., Ekhator, C., & Fonkem, E. (2022). Health records database and inherent security concerns: A review of the literature. Cureus, 14(10).

HIPAA Journal. (2023, February). Hipaa Social Media Rules – updated 2023.

Javaid, D. M., Haleem, Prof. A., Singh, D. R. P., & Suman, D. R. (2023). Towards insighting cybersecurity for healthcare domains: A comprehensive review of recent practices and trends. Cyber Security and Applications, 1(100016), 100016.

Kerr, H., Booth, R., & Jackson, K. (2020). Exploring the characteristics and behaviors of nurses who have attained microcelebrity status on Instagram: Content analysis. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(5), e16540.

Detailed Assessment Instructions for the NURS FPX 4040 Protected Health Information (PHI): Privacy Security And Confidentiality Best Practices Assignment

Prepare a 2-4 page interprofessional staff update on HIPAA and appropriate social media use in health care.

As you begin to consider the assessment, it would be an excellent choice to complete the Breach of Protected Health Information (PHI) activity. The will support your success with the assessment by creating the opportunity for you to test your knowledge of potential privacy, security, and confidentiality violations of protected health information. The activity is not graded and counts towards course engagement.

Health professionals today are increasingly accountable for the use of protected health information (PHI). Various government and regulatory agencies promote and support privacy and security through a variety of activities. Examples include:

Meaningful use of electronic health records (EHR).

Provision of EHR incentive programs through Medicare and Medicaid.

Enforcement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules.

Release of educational resources and tools to help providers and hospitals address privacy, security, and confidentiality risks in their practices.

Technological advances, such as the use of social media platforms and applications for patient progress tracking and communication, have provided more access to health information and improved communication between care providers and patients.

At the same time, advances such as these have resulted in more risk for protecting PHI. Nurses typically receive annual training on protecting patient information in their everyday practice. This training usually emphasizes privacy, security, and confidentiality best practices such as:

Keeping passwords secure.

Logging out of public computers.

Sharing patient information only with those directly providing care or who have been granted permission to receive this information.

Today, one of the major risks associated with privacy and confidentiality of patient identity and data relates to social media. Many nurses and other health care providers place themselves at risk when they use social media or other electronic communication systems inappropriately. For example, a Texas nurse was recently terminated for posting patient vaccination information on Facebook. In another case, a New York nurse was terminated for posting an insensitive emergency department photo on her Instagram account.

Health care providers today must develop their skills in mitigating risks to their patients and themselves related to patient information. At the same time, they need to be able distinguish between effective and ineffective uses of social media in health care.

This assessment will require you to develop a staff update for the interprofessional team to encourage team members to protect the privacy, confidentiality, and security of patient information.

Demonstration of Proficiency

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the course competencies through the following assessment scoring guide criteria:

Competency 1: Describe nurses’ and the interdisciplinary team’s role in informatics with a focus on electronic health information and patient care technology to support decision making.    

Describe the security, privacy, and confidentially laws related to protecting sensitive electronic health information that govern the interdisciplinary team.

Explain the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration to safeguard sensitive electronic health information.

Competency 2: Implement evidence-based strategies to effectively manage protected health information.    

Identify evidence-based approaches to mitigate risks to patients and health care staff related to sensitive electronic health information.

Develop a professional, effective staff update that educates interprofessional team members about protecting the security, privacy, and confidentiality of patient data, particularly as it pertains to social media usage.

Competency 5: Apply professional, scholarly communication to facilitate use of health information and patient care technologies.    

Follow APA style and formatting guidelines for citations and references.

Create a clear, concise, well-organized, and professional staff update that is generally free from errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.


To successfully prepare to complete this assessment, complete the following:

Review the infographics on protecting PHI provided in the resources for this assessment, or find other infographics to review. These infographics serve as examples of how to succinctly summarize evidence-based information.    

Analyze these infographics, and distill them into five or six principles of what makes them effective. As you design your interprofessional staff update, apply these principles. Note: In a staff update, you will not have all the images and graphics that an infographic might contain. Instead, focus your analysis on what makes the messaging effective.

Select from any of the following options, or a combination of options, the focus of your interprofessional staff update:    

Social media best practices.

What not to do: Social media.

Social media risks to patient information.

Steps to take if a breach occurs.

Conduct independent research on the topic you have selected in addition to reviewing the suggested resources for this assessment. This information will serve as the source(s) of the information contained in your interprofessional staff update. Consult the BSN Program Library Research Guide for help in identifying scholarly and/or authoritative sources.


In this assessment, assume you are a nurse in an acute care, community, school, nursing home, or other health care setting. Before your shift begins, you scroll through Facebook and notice that a coworker has posted a photo of herself and a patient on Facebook. The post states, “I am so happy Jane is feeling better. She is just the best patient I’ve ever had, and I am excited that she is on the road to recovery.”

You have recently completed your annual continuing education requirements at work and realize this is a breach of your organization’s social media policy. Your organization requires employees to immediately report such breaches to the privacy officer to ensure the post is removed immediately and that the nurse responsible receives appropriate corrective action.

You follow appropriate organizational protocols and report the breach to the privacy officer. The privacy officer takes swift action to remove the post. Due to the severity of the breach, the organization terminates the nurse.

Based on this incident’s severity, your organization has established a task force with two main goals:

Educate staff on HIPAA and appropriate social media use in health care.

Prevent confidentiality, security, and privacy breaches.

The task force has been charged with creating a series of interprofessional staff updates on the following topics:

Social media best practices.

What not to do: Social media.

Social media risks to patient information.

Steps to take if a breach occurs.

You are asked to select one of the topics, or a combination of several topics, and create the content for a staff update containing a maximum of two content pages. When distributed to interprofessional team members, the update will consist of one double-sided page.

The task force has asked team members assigned to the topics to include the following content in their updates in addition to content on their selected topic(s):

What is protected health information (PHI)?    

Be sure to include essential HIPAA information.

What are privacy, security, and confidentiality?    

Define and provide examples of privacy, security, and confidentiality concerns related to the use of the technology in health care.

Explain the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration to safeguard sensitive electronic health information.

What evidence relating to social media usage and PHI do interprofessional team members need to be aware of? For example:    

How many nurses have been terminated for inappropriate social media usage in the United States?

What types of sanctions have health care organizations imposed on interdisciplinary team members who have violated social media policies?

What have been the financial penalties assessed against health care organizations for inappropriate social media usage?

What evidence-based strategies have health care organizations employed to prevent or reduce confidentiality, privacy, and security breaches, particularly related to social media usage?


Your staff update is limited to two double-spaced content pages. Be selective about the content you choose to include in your update so that you are able to meet the page length requirement. Include need-to-know information. Leave out nice-to-know information.

Many times people do not read staff updates, do not read them carefully, or do not read them to the end. Ensure your staff update piques staff members’ interest, highlights key points, and is easy to read. Avoid overcrowding the update with too much content.

Also supply a separate reference page that includes 2–3 peer-reviewed and 1–2 non-peer-reviewed resources (for a total of 3–5 resources) to support the staff update content.

Additional Requirements

Written communication: Ensure the staff update is free from errors that detract from the overall message.

Submission length: Maximum of two double-spaced content pages.

Font and font size: Use Times New Roman, 12-point.

Citations and references: Provide a separate reference page that includes 2–3 current, peer-reviewed and 1–2 current, non-peer-reviewed in-text citations and references (total of 3–5 resources) that support the staff update’s content. Current mean no older than 5 years.

APA format: Be sure your citations and references adhere to APA format. Consult the APA Style and Format page for an APA refresher.

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