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How to maintain patient confidentiality

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2023 | Nursing License Defense |

Nurses have a duty to provide top-notch services to patients. Failure to do so may lead to legal issues, threatening one’s license. And one of them is breaching patient confidentiality. It’s essential to protect your patient’s information.

Here is how you can do this:

Confirm a patient’s identity

When you first encounter a patient, you need to confirm their identity. The administrative department will provide you with a patient’s record but verify their identity by name and date of birth. 

Keep information safe

You should not leave medical records or digital devices unattended. Anyone can access them and learn about a patient’s information. Leaving papers in a room or accidentally dropping them is a costly mistake. Most hospitals use advanced solutions for electronic records – a high percentage of data leaks occur due to hard copies.

Do not discuss a patient’s information

Discussing with others about a patient’s condition without their permission can get you into trouble. You may be able to inform their loved ones of their situation, but the patient should be aware, especially when doing it off-duty or during breaks.

Send information securely

If you want to send out patient information, perhaps when transferring them to a different department or hospital, you need to share it using official platforms and may need to inform the recipient how confidential the data is. Anyone else who accesses the information, such as an interpreter, should be informed of its strict confidentiality. 

Have discussions privately

Other people can eavesdrop when you are communicating with a patient. You should ask visitors to leave a room when you want to talk to a patient or close the curtain in shared rooms. Some hospitals have installed soundproof dividers to guarantee confidentiality.

If you have been accused of breaching patient confidentiality, you may need to consider your legal options to protect your license.   

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