Eastern Health is stressing the importance of privacy among its staff this week during its annual Privacy Awareness Week
The health authority's theme this year is "Don't Leave Privacy to Chance," focusing on the importance of every individual’s responsibility to help ensure the protection of privacy and confidentiality, at all times.
Eastern Health says except for job-related communications, this includes never to discuss patient, client, resident, co-worker, or business information outside of the workplace.
“Privacy Awareness Week is an excellent opportunity for us to raise additional awareness about the significance of protecting the privacy and confidentiality of personal health information,” said president and CEO Vickie Kaminski. “We recognize that health-care providers play a vital role as custodians of personal health information, and that all of us share the responsibility to help protect and ensure the appropriate access and handling of the personal health information the organization holds.”
Since recent privacy breaches by staff of health boards throughout the province became public knowledge, Eastern Health announced that it will be further enhancing its privacy through new electronic auditing software installed earlier this month. The software enables automated auditing procedures, making it faster and easier to detect inappropriate access of personal health information in the organization.
Employees also sign a confidentiality pledge, or provide an oath of confidentiality and Eastern Health conducts random audits to monitor its employees’ access and use of personal health information.
Eastern Health says it always performs additional audits of its employees’ access to personal health information if patients who are renowned in the community are receiving care in the eastern region, and also takes immediate action to investigate any matter when a member from the public comes forward with privacy-related concerns.
On a continuous basis, including during Privacy Awareness Week, the health authority hosts privacy education and awareness activities for its employees.
Eastern Health says it also conducts privacy impact assessments on any new project, or initiatives that would involve the collection, use or disclosure of personal information or personal health information.