Workplace Privacy Policy While Hiring Medical Staff

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Continuous advancements in technology together with the reach of social media mean you need to take a proactive approach in thinking how this affects your team and their working environment. This may include tailored training, updates in employee contracts or policies (e.g. having a social media policy), spot audits and re-training. 

I suggest regular ‘walkthroughs’ to monitor your reception and patient waiting areas? Take a minute to sit in the patient waiting areas to get a feel of the patient experience, what can you hear being said or discussed by your team or other patients? Spend time in the reception with your receptionists to get an insight into what is being said or discussed. Is any identifiable information visible to the public? Are the receptionists being mindful at every patient contact to ensure patient privacy?    

PROACTIVE RATHER THAN REACTIVE

A waiting room full of patients will be listening to conversations and observing what is happening (e.g. ambulance arrivals, distressed patients, acute injuries etc)”.  

Q. Are your team aware of when it is acceptable and not acceptable to view medical information on patients? What does the term ‘browse’ mean?
A. Employee browsing is when an employee who is authorised to have access to personal information at work ‘peeps’ at that information without a legitimate reason (e.g. checking up on someone who has come in for a consultation, it may be a notary member of the public and their notes are viewed). 
PMS systems allow for auditing of records to see who has accessed information. 
Employee browsing is a breach of privacy

Q. Are your policies and guidelines relevant and reviewed on a regular basis? (not just when audits are coming up)? 
A. Employees need to know what their rights are and what the limits of those rights are. This is achieved through ongoing regular privacy training, team meetings and individual mentoring. 

Q. Are your team aware that their emails can potentially be monitored if their employment agreement refers to this? 

Employment Agreements
Provisions for the use of IT systems and internet usage usually form part of employment contracts. 
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Debbie Cripps

Kris Campbell
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