By | McKenzie Jones
Client patient confidentiality is an ethical requirement that demands that healthcare providers not reveal any information about their patient to a third party without seeking consent from the client or without an apparent legal reason. Privacy is one of the essential factors patients are concerned about when seeking and receiving medical care. The healthcare industry requires your patients to disclose a great deal of their information to process claims or other administrative purposes. Protecting the confidentiality of your patients might be a complex task that poses its challenges, but with the proper methods, you can be able to protect your patient’s medical information.
If you are looking for ways to address this issue, here are various methods you can use to ensure the confidentiality of your patients is not breached.
1. Train your staff members regularly
Your employees are responsible for maintaining professional privacy in a medical facility. With technology and its game-changing features, confidentiality can be quite a challenging task to accomplish. How do you ensure there is privacy when everyone seems to be connected through their devices? The best way to begin tackling this is by training your employees to understand all the issues about patient confidentiality and the HIPAA compliance audit checklist. Your staff members will understand and adhere to policies once they understand the reason behind the policies set. If you want your members to retain all the information and put it into practice, invest in making these training sessions light and fun while providing them an excellent opportunity to get to know each other as they learn more about confidentiality. Introducing games and avoiding long monotonous speeches will ensure your employees take these sessions as a positive experience.
2. Store all information on secured systems
There are plenty of threats against information in the health care system. Fortunately, there are security techniques that you can use to cover these threats that pose a risk in patient confidentiality, such as administrative, clinical information including lab data, progress notes, vital signs, demographics, or past medical reports. As the healthcare industry develops, so does the amount of patient information that needs to be stored. To maintain patient confidentiality, all this data needs to be stored securely where it can be saved and accessed easily without the risk of tampering. In this age of the internet, you should prioritize configuring your network devices to withstand potential threats. You need to invest in the highest levels of security and digital protection features for your patients’ data. In addition, only the necessary employees should be allowed to access patient’s data. You should also incorporate high-level password protection features to ensure there is control of access. This way, you can limit the number of people who will be in contact with confidential information.
3. No mobile phones policies in restricted areas
There are loads of cases that have been reported where pictures or videos of patients’ private records and information have been stolen. This is a typical case that can be handled by enforcing that no one should have a mobile phone on restricted rooms or patient floors. Communication between doctors via messaging apps where they talk about their patients should also be banned as it is regarded as a breach of privacy. Ensure that your staff members understand that doing that is an act of breaking a patient’s confidentiality and why it is in their best interests that they maintain a level of professionalism at work.
4. Create confidentiality agreements and thorough policies
Every employee should have confidentiality agreements signed, including any new hire. A confidentiality agreement is a lawful document that states what kind of information can and cannot be shared with people outside the facility. These confidentiality agreements also state the consequences for sharing confidential information without the consent of a patient. These policies are put in place to guarantee clear communication of what is expected of them in the workplace and what could eventually happen if they go against it. These documents could also be shared with patients as tangible proof of the values that your facility upholds.
As stated earlier, managing electronic health information poses unique challenges. Healthcare providers, including business administrators, practitioners, and researchers, are responsible for respecting and protecting that information from foreign eyes. The above tips will ensure your practice and your employees uphold patient confidentiality in whichever way they can, making you a reliable and trusted healthcare facility.