Nurses are responsible to protect the confidentiality and security of patients’ health information. In the critical care setting, these privacy and confidentiality issues may be even more poignant. If able to carry on with their normal lives after discharge, many of the patients that nurses treat will have some sequelae from their illnesses that could affect their careers, finances, and personal lives. This article reviews the current literature, presents a discussion of confidentiality and security as it applies to uniquely identifiable health information, and offers some “best practices” that can be used in daily practice. Furthermore, the author discusses the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and details some reasons why the act is not fully implemented a full 6 years after it was signed into law.

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