Compliance and Privacy Spotlight: Break the Glass – Epic

Broken glass with hole in the middle on white backgroundAt Texas Children’s, we are responsible for protecting the confidentiality of our patients’ protected health information (PHI), including PHI maintained within the Epic electronic medical record. Epic’s “Break the Glass” feature helps Texas Children’s deter and detect inappropriate access to our patients’ PHI.

What is Break the Glass?
Break the Glass is a tool within Epic that provides an extra layer of privacy protection for certain patient records. When Break the Glass is applied to a patient’s record, anyone trying to access that record will be required to document the reason for accessing the record before access is granted.

While Break the Glass can be applied to any patient’s record, it is often used for the following types of records:

  • Texas Children’s employees who are patients at one of our facilities
  • Confidential encounters
  • High-profile patients/families (e.g., celebrities, patients in the news)
  • Other records where there is concern about potential inappropriate access

Can I access a record that has been flagged with Break the Glass?
Yes, if you need to access the record in order to do your job. You will be required to enter a reason for accessing the record before access is granted. Once you Break the Glass on a flagged record, you can continue to re-access that same record for a period of four days. You will need to Break the glass again after four days if your job duties require you to continue accessing the record.

Is Break the Glass monitored?
Yes. The Compliance and Privacy Office reviews each instance where a flagged record is accessed. Workforce members found to have inappropriately accessed patient records are disciplined in accordance with Texas Children’s policies, up to and including termination.

Who should I contact to add Break the Glass to a medical record?
Contact the Compliance and Privacy Office (see information below).

Remember! Do not access any medical record unless it is necessary to do your job.

If you have questions about Break the Glass, please contact the Compliance and Privacy Office (Ext. 4-2085 or

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