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Hidden risks: Observers roaming the hallways

Daniel J. Weissburg (dweissburg@ucsd.edu) is Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer and Marilyn L. Shanks-Dizard (mshanksdizard@ucsd.edu) is Senior Privacy Analyst at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla, CA.

An observer may be defined as an individual who visits a hosting healthcare entity for a set period of time, under that entity’s supervision, to shadow patient care and/or clinical operations. Observers may witness patient care, but observers are not authorized to participate in patient care. This article offers guiding principles behind a tailored observer program designed to allow an entity to host visiting observers while also safeguarding the entity and patients by putting proper policies and protocols in place.

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