When a practice decides to hire either an employee, independent contractor or even an unpaid intern, there is a high likelihood that those individuals will come into contact with confidential information, including information protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) A nondisclosure agreement, commonly referred to as an NDA, will protect the practice from their staff utilizing any confidential information that they obtained while associated with the practice for their own benefit or for the benefit of third parties.
The NDA can be a separate agreement to be reviewed and signed, in conjunction with an employment or contractor agreement.
The NDA agreement protects the following types of information from being shared or used:
- HIPAA protected information, including patient health information (PHI);
- Fee schedules;
- Practice marketing or advertising plans/policies ;
- Salary information of staff of the practice;
- Names of referral sources or other third-party contractors/associates;
- Financial information of the Practice; or
- Any other information that is considered confidential and not known to the public by the Practice.
Whether the staff of the practice is paid or not, including the unpaid intern, they still may come into contact with Confidential Information and it is very important to have an NDA that outlines what information is protected, what happens if there is a breach by the staff and what recourse the Practice has in order to protect the information in case of a breach.
Many times Confidential Information will also include Intellectual Property of the Practice. Intellectual property includes, but is not limited to the following information:
- Logos of the Practice; and
- Manuals or training guides
Restricting the staff from using and disclosing any Confidential Information or Intellectual Property of the Practice during and after termination of their employment will protect the Practice. NDAs ensure that this information will remain confidential and that third parties will not be able to obtain it in order to compete with or damage the Practice.