UNC Health Care has made patient privacy a top priority by implementing a series of Privacy and Information Security Policies and ensuring that our workforce is trained on these policies annually. The UNC Health Care Privacy Office has been assigned the responsibility of investigating any potentially inappropriate use, access or disclosure of patient information. Privacy incidents are urgent matters that pose immediate risks to confidentiality, privacy, and security of patient information. If you know or suspect a potential breach of protected health information (PHI) or a violation of UNC Health policies has occurred, you should report it immediately. Our Notice of Privacy Practices describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed. It also outlines your rights including the right to complain about our privacy practices.
How to Identify a Reportable Privacy Incident
The UNC Health Care Privacy Office is obligated to review each instance of inappropriate access, use or disclosure of patient information to determine if the requirement for patient notification has been met. To do that, the office uses guidance from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to consider the type of information that was exposed, the individual to whom it was exposed, and the disposition of the information after the investigation. With all of those factors in mind, if it is determined that more than a low probability of compromise exists then the patient and the OCR will be notified in writing of the incident.
Reporting a Privacy Incident/Complaint
You may report a known or suspected violation of a patient’s privacy, please contact the UNC Health Privacy Office by email at Privacy@unchealth.unc.edu , by phone at 984.974.1069 or by submitting an online report at http://hotline.unchealthcare.org . The online reporting system is the preferred method to communicate your concerns because it provides the Privacy Office with all of the details of the situation so they may initiate an investigation right away. Elements that should be included in your report are noted below. A member of our team will review your concerns and take appropriate internal action. You may choose to leave your contact information or report the incident anonymously.
Elements that should be included in your report include:
- Patient’s Name
- Patient’s medical record number or date of birth, if known
- Date of suspected violation
- What information was inappropriately disclosed
- To whom was that information disclosed
The UNC Health Care Privacy Office investigates all alleged breaches of patient information reported by its workforce, patients or members of the community. We will work to resolve the issue reported in order to safeguard patients’ confidential information and improve UNC Health Care business practices. The Chief Privacy Officer determines the appropriate level of response to mitigate potential harm including notification to patients and collaboration with Human Resources to determine if corrective action is needed.