Can health care providers engage in confidential conversations with other providers or with patients, even if there is a possibility that they could be overheard?Yes. The HIPAA privacy rule is not intended to prohibit providers from talking to each other and to their patients. The privacy rule recognizes that oral communications often must occur freely and quickly in treatment settings. Thus, we are free to engage in communications as required for quick, effective, and high quality health care. The privacy rule also recognizes that overheard communications in these settings may be unavoidable and allows for these incidental disclosures. This can be done as long as reasonable precautions are taken to minimize the chance of other people hearing the information discussed.