With Confidentiality Week around the corner, from November 20 to 26, this is an opportune moment to reflect on the importance of the confidentiality of medical records because keeping personal information about our users private is a core business practice in the healthcare sector.
When treated at any of our network’s establishments, users rely on receiving quality care and services that must be provided in a safe and secure environment. Above and beyond trust in our delivery of care, however, is the expectation from our users that the infor-mation disclosed to us, as well as medical results, is kept confidential, unless written consent is granted.
Advancements in technology have changed the way medical files are stored and shared. Nonetheless, whether files are electronic or not, it is the legal obligation of the healthcare provider, which includes staff members, to keep users’ medical records in a safely locked cabinet and/or within the institution’s electronic database.
To ensure that we all follow the hard-and-fast rules that govern the security of medical records, please take note of the situations that can significantly increase the risk of breaches in confidentiality:
- keeping your computer on and unattended in examination rooms or where users can see and read the information on the screen
- engaging in hallway conversations about clients, patients, residents and users
- leaving personal and confidential documents on top of a garbage bin, or using the general recycling bin instead of the one for confidential material• posting lists on walls or doors that include the names of users
- leaving medical charts unattended on carts in hallways, or failing to lock the doors of offices where user files are stored, easily available or visible
- using personal devices to store pictures, health data and personal information
- Sharing passwords
To reduce this risk, it is imperative that you treat user information as you would want that of your loved ones to be handled. For inqui-ries regarding matters of confidentiality in our network, contact the Medical Records Team which is legally responsible for health data and personal information that is collected about our users, and for ensuring that measures are in place to safeguard them.
A medical archivist is available to answer your ques-tions. Depending on the nature of your work, call:Annie Desjardins (hospitals, internal rehabilitation, residential centres and Long-Term Care)514-340-8222, ext. 4092
Chantal Desmarais (medical records, protection of details about users’ personal lives and files)514-731-1386, ext. 8649