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Case study

healthcare What is a breach? brochure

MedStar Health, Corporate Privacy Dept.

Help! We need to:

Enable employees to accurately abide by HIPAA regulations by understanding breaches, and the importance of timely reporting of them to supervisors.

Obstacles (to jump, ride or fly over!):

  • Explaining a privacy breach in a manner that will keep employees’ attention.

 Solution: What is a breach?

  • Employees must first understand “What is a breach?” before they can act responsibly.
  • Employees learn best when they can see themselves in example scenarios.


  • Content was written to define: a privacy breach, why understanding is essential, employees’ responsibility and roles in preventing and mitigating breaches, and instructions on how to report a breach.
  • Bold, fun illustrations reflect diversity in job functions, race, and gender. An element of interactivity is offered to the reader by reveal folds.


An initial printing of 20,000 was distributed throughout the organization. Within one month, an additional print run of 5,000 was initiated due to high demand for additional copies. Privacy liaisons, front-line supervisors, and senior leaders throughout the organization provided overwhelmingly positive feedback and anecdotal comments, such as:

  • unique and eye-catching
  • employees at every level can relate to and understand it
  • innovative way to capture the attention of employees and provide them with resources to answer questions and report concerns/possible breaches
  • the use of scenarios really helps employees understand what might be a breach and what they can do to prevent breaches.
  • client was asked to present at the Office of Civil Rights, highlighting their privacy education tools
  • Thoth Award from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), National Capital Chapter in the category of printed brochure.



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Utilizing example scenarios so employees could see themselves in situations involving breaches worked even better than we anticipated. More calls to our hotline resulted, due to employees understanding the need for quick reporting of potential breaches.

Donnetta Horseman, M.A., CHC, CIPP

former Director of Privacy, MedStar Health
current position, Corporate Responsibility Officer, CaroMont Health