5 important ways to maintain patient confidentiality
Robust patient privacy and confidentiality are a fundamental part of the Australian healthcare system. Protecting the intimate information entrusted to medical professionals is part and parcel of the job.
But in a world that is becoming ever more digital, how can patient facing organisations be sure that they are keeping information appropriately protected at all times? This is a growing issue as we increasingly see the amount of patient data growing. In the digital age we also have more need than ever to connect different parts of the healthcare system to create a seamless experience for both doctors and patients.
So, how can we keep information safe in the modern medical environment?
1. Create thorough policies and confidentiality agreements
Drawing up all encompassing and wide-ranging confidentiality agreements or policies means that everybody on your medical team knows exactly what is expected of them in every eventuality. It must be read from cover to cover by every staff member and signed. It can also be regularly shared with patients to demonstrate that your organisation upholds strict confidentiality procedures.
2. Provide regular training
People adhere best to policies and practices when they fully understand why they are in place. Holding regular training sessions for all your staff members, from administrators to doctors and nurses, helps to reinforce how essential confidentiality requirements are, and provides a refresh of staff duties and expectations.
For best results, make these training times fun and a good opportunity to learn while getting to know colleagues. Taking a creative approach to the topic and introducing games can also help the information be more engaging whilst also being a positive experience for your staff.
3. Make sure all information is stored on secure systems
As the standard of healthcare improves and populations expand the amount of patient data being stored has increased astronomically. As a result, many practices and clinics may face challenges in correctly storing this information, both in terms of where huge data quantities can be saved and making the information easily accessible. Alongside these systematic difficulties it is essential that the highest level of security and digital protection is used when storing patient data. Purchasing platforms or using cloud providers that ensure your data is safe is the best way to look after this.
Furthermore, it is important that only strictly necessary personnel have access to this data. Levels of password protection that controls access is also worth considering and investing in.
4. No mobile phones
An easy way to eliminate possible threats to patient confidentiality is to strictly limit or remove mobile phones from patient areas. This ensures that no one could either maliciously or accidentally record or photograph private records or information. According to research by Imperial College healthcare NHS trust in London 65% of doctors used SMS to communicate with colleagues about a patient, opening up concerns about privacy.
This can sometimes be a difficult rule to enforce given the proliferation of digital devices. However, regularly reminding staff and patients why it is in their best interests can help to reduce any resistance.
5. Think about printing
Once all your technical solutions and security is in place it can be tempting to think you have everything sorted. However, printed materials that contain key patient information are often overlooked. Labels, forms and printed notes can easily be misplaced, or even stolen, if they are in a busy area. Having streamlined, easy-to-use and secure printing systems is well worth investing in.
Brother’s print solutions for healthcare provide Cerner certified print solutions. They can link seamlessly with secure cloud storage, PDF and can provide password protected printing.
How can Brother help?
Brother provides specialised healthcare printing solutions, designed with patient confidentiality at front of mind. Our products improve efficiency across the board to help both staff and patients to reduce stress and maximise resources. Key services include:
- Improved point of care efficiency
- Stronger compliance and security measures
- Secure devices
To learn more about printing solutions to ensure your organisation can protect your patients’ confidential information, click here.
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