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Under HIPAA, any person who works for a healthcare insurer or healthcare provider, which would include hospital volunteers, is prevented from improperly accessing or disclosing any patient's personal health information. You are not allowed to disclose information about the patient's condition or health information. If you are conducting your work in a place that was designed by the hospital to be secure and someone oversees what you are doing this would generally not violate HIPAA as long as you have made reasonable efforts to keep that information confidential. For example, a reception area where a patient is checking in and people can over hear their information was not held to be a HIPAA violation. Another example is in a semi-private hospital room where the other patient in the room can hear everything about the patient from all of their healthcare providers.
The key is to do whatever is reasonably possible to prevent unauthorized persons from accessing a patient's PHI.
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