Patient Confidentiality

Description:For the past two weeks I have been working in a large surgical ward that has mass thoroughfare of people in and out of the ward – namely doctors, visitors and other allied health care staff. One method of Patient Confidentiality which I have encountered is the use of cavity lockers for each individual patient – which lock patients files and confidential information safely in the wall. In addition, these lockers are secured with a special sequential pin which is needed to open the locker in order to retrieve the contents from inside.

Feelings:I feel that this particular method of maintaining patient confidentiality is excellent. I also find the unique sequential pin locking mechanism an added bonus, because not only does the locker conceal the patients files, it keeps the patients information away from wondering eyes. Sometimes when I see these lockers open I personally walk over and close them myself. I do this because I think strongly from the patients perspective and point of view about their personal information – as I wouldn’t want my own medical notes and personal history left out in the open to the public.

Evaluation:The use of a wall cavity locker is a very effective way in maintaining patient confidentiality as well as safety. This works to ensure patient value and privacy – making sure that visitors and other visiting healthcare professionals cannot simply pick up a someone’s files and browse through them.

Analysis:These lockers are very important as they keep the ward clutter free and organized, thus minimizing the chances of errors and misinterpretation of patient information – hence why there are individual lockers for each patient. Maintaining patient confidentiality in an inpatient setting and is extremely important, as it demonstrates respect for the patients as they trust healthcare professionals to do so. This means that healthcare professionals should not disclose any private or personal medical information to members outside that patients care team – or leave information out on desks, tables or bedsides.

Conclusion:On a whole, this particular method of sorting, storing, and handling patient information is the best possible approach to maintaining patient confidentiality. Although these lockers can be left open at times and closed later on, many people would still prefer their files to be stored in place which can be locked and secured – rather than having patient files and confidential information stockpiled at a nursing station or shelf of some sort.

Action Plan:In the future I would/will ensure that I continue to maintain patient confidentiality by simply closing, or returning patient files to their allocated lockers after use. Thereby preventing situations where patient confidentiality and information is repeatedly exposed to everyone in the ward.