Is there an appropriate community to ask HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) related questions? I was thinking health.SO, but they don't have a tag for HIPAA.

My specific question is this:

How is it ok for a healthcare provider to have shared rooms for inpatient stays, when countless doctors and nurses come in to talk to a patient with no real concern about being overheard by the roommate?

I ask this because I recently stayed at a hospital for 2 nights, and never really spoke a single word to my roommate, but by discharge I knew his name, DOB, and would have had his MRN if I felt like writing it down. I also knew his meds, his condition, and previous conditions like his prior battle with colon cancer.

HIPAA regulations are in place to prevent confidential patient information from being known by people who have no business knowing it. It's primarily targeting staff of healthcare providers, insurance providers, and any entity working with medical information...

I thought that question may be appropriate for Health.SO but perhaps not. Any idea where I could ask such a question? If nowhere on SO is appropriate, anyone have any other secret non-SO forums I might be able to find some answers at ;-) ?


Update: Law.SE does seem to have a hipaa tag and may perhaps be a more appropriate place for a question like this. I will give it a shot there. Thank you guys! I'm not really sure how "marking as answer" works on the meta sites, but Carey pointed me in that direction so I'll go ahead and mark it...

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    Hi!. Welcome to Health.Meta, Adam! Thanks for asking here first. If HIPAA stands for "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act", please edit your question to explain that and also add the direction your question on main Health.SE might take. (Although insurance questions will likely be off-topic. Please take the tour on main and read the help center and How to Ask.) May 23, 2018 at 18:03
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    It would most likely not be on topic, but as an aside, if there is any time that a tag has not been created, all you have to do is type in the name of the tag and it will be created (If you have the reputation). If you don't have the reputation, you can flag a moderator with the tag name you think should apply, and it can be created. TBH, I'm surprised we haven't had a HIPAA tag created yet.
    – JohnP
    May 24, 2018 at 14:07
  • @LangLangC thank you, yes that's the HIPAA I'm referring to. I've included that in my question. I've also included the specific question I have, which is related more to patient privacy concerns that I thought were supposed to be protected by HIPAA laws.
    – Adam
    May 25, 2018 at 13:06

2 Answers 2


I don't think HIPAA questions would be on-topic here. Although HIPAA is certainly a daily concern for medical providers in the US, HIPAA and similar privacy laws in other countries aren't health questions. They're legal questions, and that's why medical providers rely on lawyers to advise them on such matters. So asking here would produce sub-optimal answers at best. I'm not sure what the Law exchange considers on-topic, but that's probably your best bet for HIPAA questions.

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    Law.SE would accept questions of the form "What does the law say about this situation?", but not "I think my doctor broke HIPAA, what should I do?".
    – Mark
    May 24, 2018 at 19:58
  • Carey, I see your point. Thank you. If you're curious about the context of the question (or, well, the whole question itself lol), I've updated my post.
    – Adam
    May 25, 2018 at 13:08
  • @Mark that makes sense. I think my question is a little in between both. I could probably word it as a more legal'ish question, however and try posting it over there.
    – Adam
    May 25, 2018 at 13:08

Mmm...I would have to see how the question is worded.

If it is something like "I think my doctor broke hipaa, what do I do?", it would be off topic.

However, HIPAA and its sister acts such as HITECH have a huge impact on the professional side, so with the new direction coming I could see something like "How has HIPAA and HITECH impacted the decisions to become a sole practitioner or member of an HMO?" or similar being on topic, and of interest to medical professionals.

Also, considering GDPR, something like "I am a US based doctor, but I have a traveling resident of Germany as a patient. What are the pertinent portions of GDPR that might apply to releasing medical records?" etc.

It would very much depend on how it was worded. Again, most layperson questions would be off topic, but I could see many peer to peer questions being on topic.

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    Thanks JohnP, I've updated my question and just included the whole question I wanted to ask (not fishing for answers here, but wanted to avoid any confusion with the context of it). Thanks for the comment about how to add tags, btw. Been using SO for many years and never knew I could do that :-X
    – Adam
    May 25, 2018 at 13:11

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