Location: Your Privacy
>> Privacy Education
>> Module 4 - Confidentiality
How Do I Maintain Confidentiality?
Your Privacy is Important to US
Remember: People have the right to control the collection, use, sharing, and retention of personal health information (PHI). It is your responsibility to hold patient and staff/affiliate information in the highest confidence.
Note that privacy laws do not affect mandatory reporting by Regulated Health Professionals - e.g., reportable diseases, child abuse, etc.
- Discuss the intended use, and sharing of the confidential information with the individual, and respect their decisions regarding use and sharing. You are permitted to release personal health information to other health care providers who will be providing medical care to the patient. You may do this without express consent provided the individual has told you they do not want their information released to that person/facility.
- Protect confidential information that you have in your control:
- File or put away charts in their proper place.
- Lock filing cabinets and offices.
- View information - whether in print or on screen - away from others' view.
- Do not store confidential information on the hard drive of any computer.
- Ensure that at the end of the day, your desk is clear of papers containing confidential information.
- Do not e-mail information with identifiable staff/affiliate and/or patient-related information to sources outside the hospital.
- Always use a cover sheet when faxing that includes your name, telephone number, and a statement that tells the recipient what to do in the event the fax is misdirected.
- Maintain the confidentiality of information about staff and affiliates the same as patient information. Respect your colleagues' right to privacy.
- Access only the confidential information that is essential for you to do your work, whether it is providing direct care to a patient or providing services to the hospital. This includes accessing your own record or that of your family and friends. Accessing confidential information that does not pertain to your work may result in disciplinary action.
- Users of the hospital network system are responsible for all work done under their password and User ID. For this reason:
- Do not share your password or use your password to give access to any other person.
- Create passwords that are hard to guess and change them periodically.
- Avoid writing down your password or reusing old passwords when it comes time to change your password.
- Log off or suspend use of the hospital network system when you are finished. Never leave an active screen unattended.
- Dispose of printed confidential information by putting it in confidential waste receptacles or by shredding the documents.
- Consider the sensitivity of information being sent via inter-departmental mail. If sensitive, send in a sealed envelope.
- Discuss confidential information in private areas, where others cannot overhear the information. Avoid discussing confidential information in public areas such as:
- Coffee shops, retail spaces
- Other patient's rooms
- In public
- At home
- When using wireless devices like laptops and Personal Digital Assistants (PDA):
- Password protect the device and all your programs if able.
- Keep the confidential information you store on your device to a minimum - get in the habit of downloading and uploading your work from the hospital's network drives.
- Remove patient-identifying information from these devices as much as possible.
- Ensure the security of your PDA and laptops when not in use. Do not leave them unattended. If the device must be left in your car, secure it in the trunk and away from view of would-be thieves.
Next (Scenario-based learning)
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