I need to find a case where a healthcare professional violated HIPAA or breached patient confidentiality.

I am in Medical Law M230/HSC2641. I just have to write what the case is about and explain how the HIPAA law was violated, how the violation impacted the patient(s), and how the incident could have been prevented.


First, try browsing the Newsroom section of the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/office/ 

HIPAA breaches are required to be reported to them and you might get lucky and find a breach that meets the requirements of your assignment right there. 

If that does not work out, or if you want more information on the breach you picked, here are some ideas.

Healthcare professionals who violate HIPAA, depending on the level of offense, might be reprimanded by their employer only or they and their employer might end up in court if someone files an official complaint or an official audit catches violations. The press is more likely to hear about and report on the cases that end up in the public eye. 

Knowing this, it makes sense to look for this type of information in databases that cover newspaper articles, court cases, and/or health care issues in general. It is important to try more than one database!

It is also important to know that if you are looking for a specific type of violation (say you want to find an article about a doctor who injured a patient through a breach of confidentiality), that you may need to be thoughtful about vocabulary.

  • HIPAA violation = breach of privacy
  • Healthcare provider may also need to be searched more specifically, aka doctor or nurse or CNA or HIT
  • "Injury" in the medical world usually involves skin, blood, or bones. In the legal world, however, the definition of "injury" is more inclusive and covers damage to a person's "body, rights, reputation, or property" (Free Legal Dictionary). Thus "injury" could mean losing a job or not getting an interview.

Health Sciences databases tips:

  • Start with Health Sciences and Nursing via ProQuest database. It covers health issues and picks up articles from newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals.
    • Your search should be nouns that you want to see in the title of the articles. Try combinations like:
      • hipaa and violations
      • doctor and hipaa and violations
      • nurse and hipaa and violations
      • adding the word case may also help, as in 'Case of Released Patient Data: Nurse Shares Records'
  • Next, pick one or more health sciences databases from EBSCO (Health Source, CINAHL Complete, or even all of the EBSCO databases! Click here to learn how to search multiple EBSCO databases at once.

Once in the EBSCO multi-search, type in strings of nouns as indicated above (doctor and violation and HIPAA) and see if you can find good results.

  • Last Updated Mar 26, 2024
  • Views 9344
  • Answered By Kerry Louvier

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