It’s your Call August 2019

OSHA: What are the protection levels for face masks?

The ASTM Standard rates medical masks at three levels of protection against fluid and spray.  Minimum protection offers a simple barrier which is ideal for procedures where no fluids or sprays are involved. Level 1 masks adequately protect when low amounts of fluid, aerosols, and spray are produced during a procedure. Level 2 masks are good for low to moderate amounts. Level 3 masks are for moderate to heavy amounts.

The common labels/names for masks are surgical, isolation, dental or medical procedure masks. Face masks have several characteristics. They are loose-fitting and made with different thicknesses to protect the caregiver from the patient, and the patient from the caregiver.

Face masks are meant to block large-particle droplets, splashes, or splatter but do not filter or block small particles in the air that are transmitted by coughs, sneezes and certain medical procedures. Respirators would be best in such cases. It is important to assess your work environment and exposure levels, then determine if face masks would provide optimal protection.

HIPAA: What is the best way to identify risks for providers in our office who are allowed to receive, transmit, use or store patient health information on their mobile device?

Perform a risk analysis to determine the impact a lost or stolen mobile device. Also, look at the impact of inadvertent downloads of viruses/malware and ePHI disclosers through an unsecured Wi-Fi network. Technology is ever-changing, so it’s important to determine the risks, develop a policy, implement protective measures and train your team to safeguard your patient’s health information.