Eastern Health to implement new privacy policy for inpatients

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Eastern Health CEO Vickie Kaminski . — Telegram file photo

Eastern Health will implement a new inpatient privacy policy Monday it says will allow patients to choose upon admission to hospital whether or not they want to release information about their inpatient status to inquiries from the public.

The policy is part of Eastern Health’s ongoing process to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of its patients.

In a news release, it states it had been a regular practice for family members, friends and neighbours to call Eastern Health hospitals to get information about the location of an inpatient, including the patient’s room number and room phone number. With the new policy, a patient has to agree for that information to being released.

“Eastern Health takes the issue of patient privacy and confidentiality very seriously and we are always looking at ways that we can enhance our efforts to ensure that the privacy of our patients, clients and residents is protected,” said Vickie Kaminski, President and CEO. “This policy gives individuals the opportunity to take control of the disclosure of their inpatient status and location if they are admitted to one of our facilities.”

Under the new policy, upon admission to an acute care facility, patients or the person speaking on their behalf will be asked by admission staff if they would like their inpatient status and location to remain private. The decision will appear on the hospital admission form which is signed by the patient.

The patient’s decision will be reflected in Eastern Health’s computer system: if he/she allows disclosure of information about his/her status it will be available to switchboard/reception staff. If the individual chooses to keep his/her status private, the switchboard/reception staff will have no information about the location of that person, not even the name. The new policy means all public inquiries and phone calls about an individual patient will be directed to the main switchboard/reception desk. The new policy will not override the procedure that is already in place on units within hospitals to share inpatient status and progress with designated family members.

 Should patients wish to change their decision during their stay in hospital, they will be given an opportunity to do so.

Geographic location: Eastern Health

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Recent comments

  • Ron Tizzard
    November 21, 2012 - 08:06

    Comment, while is not directly 'on point'...through the years, I attended Emerg with my wife, and on my own behalf. Staff - we both found to be excellent both from the perspectives of Patience, Support, Acknowledgement and 'professional Care'. Suggestions - limited space...in all the Emergency Care areas...cramped tight, dowdy space which adds to 'waiting pateints' anxieties....NOT TO MENTION THE MORALE WORKING IN SUCH AREAS FOR EXTENDED HOURS ON ANY GIVEN DAY. WHY DO THESE AREA HAVE TO SEEM LIKE BUNKERS, IN THE BOWELS OF THE HOSPITAL...IN AND OF ITSELF THAT IS A CONCERN WHICH SHOULD BE ADDRESSED.... STAFF - GET TRIPPLE - 'AAA' ---LOCATION ----BOTHERSOME.

  • I'm Just Saying ....
    November 21, 2012 - 06:46

    Is it just me, or what? This is a voluntary thing as I understand it. It is not status quo unless one doesn't want the info given out? Personally, I have no issue with health update given to caring folk who call in about me. Certainly saves time & evergy from having made a trip to the hospital to see someone only to find a sign on the door saying "NO VISITORS". Duffy, don't know what you're smoking but you make no sense whatsoever. Are you down on Eastern Health; the staff or the world in general? If you see a health professional with that disrespectful attitude, then it's no surprise you are not getting the response from others that you are looking for.

  • W Bagg
    November 20, 2012 - 20:08

    deadly, now when my 85 year old aunt who lives alone strokes out, I'll never know where she is. Shoulda killed 2 birds with one stone and added an addendum to bill 29

  • Duffy
    November 20, 2012 - 18:18

    Instead of throwing money away on useless dribble why not fix the Third World Emergency Room Operation at Carbonear. You can wait there for hours and hours while some leave for St. Johns in hopes of care and others complain about a "I got a belly ache or a hang-over" and want to see a doctor because they do not want to take off work to see their doctor during the week. Betwen the inefficiency, lack of staff or laziness (I don't know) and the ones that abuse the system - it has stopped working. It is a complete failure from my experiences and those that discuss the operation after a visit.

    • Fred from Brigus
      November 21, 2012 - 07:54

      Duffy if you have a pain in the a$$ you probably are a pain in the a$$.