Protecting patient health information is paramount; otherwise, it may be subject to HIPAA violations. This guide will discuss HIPAA violations and their main pillars. In the end, it will explain “Is calling a patient name a HIPAA violation?” so stay connected to learn more.

What is HIPAA Violation?

HIPAA violations happen when covered entities fail to comply with their safety standards and regulations, which results in breaching patient privacy. Typically, this includes using insecure platforms for sharing information, not providing employees with training about HIPAA, or overlooking access logs. It’s crucial to follow proper security rules to meet HIPAA regulations. The following are the three main pillars of HIPAA that are necessary to maintain patient communication security.

HIPAA Privacy Rule

Under the guidance of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, covered entities must ensure the privacy of patients' health information or medical records. Also, this rule gives patients the right to access, amend, or request restrictions. Moreover, the patient can ask to disclose their health information. However, it is the covered entities' responsibility to make patients mindful of the potential risks associated with the disclosure of PHI. For that, the patient’s written consent must be obtained before sharing health information.

HIPAA Security Rule

This rule mandates that HIPAA-covered entities are responsible for safeguarding electronic protected health information (ePHI). It covers both technical and physical data protection. HIPAA-covered entities must secure platforms for sharing information and follow safety standards while communicating health information.

Breach Notification Rule

This rule outlines that the covered entities must inform patients about their information, identity theft, or unsecured PHI and inform HSS (Department of Health and Human Services) about persons whose information is affected and the intensity of the breach. In case of intense breaching or large cases, media coverage is allowed.

Violating any of these rules affects HIPAA-covered entities, including healthcare providers (hospitals, doctors, clinics, pharmacies, etc.), health plans (health insurance companies, health maintenance organizations, or Government health programs), healthcare clearinghouses (billing service firms), and business associates who come in contact with PHI.

Calling Patient's Name — HIPAA Violation?

HIPAA discourages disclosing any information that carries patient health information, and it is important to ensure privacy and security standards to avoid HIPAA violations. Here, one concern about patients' privacy is, “Is calling a patient's name a HIPAA violation?” The simple answer is it depends; although HIPAA allows taking patients' names, it is critical to make sure patients' names do not expose any health-related information. 

For instance, in a public setting such as a waiting room, calling a patient's name is not a violation until the name is accompanied by the treatment or diagnosis details. Moreover, in sensitive health departments such as Mental Health or Fertility sections, calling patients' names can disclose PHI to other patients and may result in a HIPAA violation.

It is recommended to use best practices to call the patient for a diagnosis of violating HIPAA, such as avoiding taking patients' full names, using numbered or coding systems, or using applications to call in patients, text messages or appointment reminders. 


Whether it is patient physical interaction with PHI or over calling or text messages, protecting patient privacy is critical; that is why we have developed Robotalker, an ultimate partner designed for secure patient communication. Robotalker goes beyond in protecting patient privacy, streamlining communication, and enhancing the patient experience.