The HIPAA Privacy Rule is not intended to prohibit communication amongst a patients’ treatment team and/or with the patient directly. Of course, others may occasionally be in the area in which this discussion may occur. Now, reasonable precautions should be taken to avoid any disclosure of patient PHI during this time. However, there may be a time when minor bits of information or PHI is released to another patient who is in the area.
This is referred to as an incidental disclosure.
Privacy principles do not prohibit an incidental disclosure of patient information so long as reasonable safeguards are taken to minimize the disclosure. What is reasonable depends on the situation.