Patient Condition Reports
Patient condition may be provided consistent with the limitations imposed by the HIPAA privacy standards. If an inquiry is made using the patient's name, general condition information may be provided that does not communicate specific information about the individual. The American Hospital Association has suggested the following one-word descriptions of a patient's general condition.
Good: Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious and comfortable. Indicators are excellent.
Fair: Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious but may be uncomfortable. Indicators are favorable.
Serious: Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits. Patient is acutely ill. Indicators are questionable.
Critical: Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.
Treated and Released: Received treatment but not admitted.
Treated and Transferred: Received treatment. Transferred to a different facility.
Undetermined: Patient awaiting physician assessment
The Committee on Public Relations of the Michigan Hospital Association has established suggested definitions of patient condition for the information and benefit of member hospitals in dealing with media. These are the guidelines we use at the U-M Health System. Our main priority is the protection of patient confidentiality, within the guidelines of Michigan laws.
Any expression that the patient is "stable," "guarded," "as good as can be expected," or "satisfactory" fails to present accurate information and should be avoided.
Unit clerks or nursing staff should direct all media inquires about patient conditions to Health System Public Relations at 734-764-2220. If a police agency needs to interview a patient, they should contact Security at 734-936-7890.
The University of Michigan Health System Department of Public Relations and Marketing Communications follows the Michigan Health and Hospital Association's Guidelines for the Release of Patient Information to the Media and Others. These guidelines are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA. If for any reason you feel this has not occurred, or for more information on these guidelines, please contact, Public Relations, at 734-764-2220 or by e-mail.
For more information on HIPAA, go to our HIPAA information web site.
Public Relations and Marketing Communications