ADVERTISEMENT

Let’s address patients with courtesy, respect

In many doctors’ offices, patients are called by their first name. When asked why, staff members usually say it’s because of “privacy issues,” thinking that HIPAA requires that patients be addressed by their first names. Not true. HIPAA requires that we use reasonable safeguards to prevent medical and personal information from being communicated, and doesn’t prevent us from addressing patients in a manner such as Mr. Jones or by their full name.

See the U.S. government website: May physicians’ offices use sign-in sheets or call out the names of their patients in their waiting rooms?

“Yes. Covered entities, such as physicians’ offices, may use patient sign-in sheets or call out patient names in waiting rooms, so long as the information disclosed is properly limited.”

Our patients choose us as their health care providers because they trust and respect us. We owe them the respect they deserve by addressing them properly.

Errol Daniels, O.D.

East Amherst