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From Andrea B. Thomas-Lloyd, MBA, CISSP, CHPS, Director, Information Protection & Assurance
Healthcare consumers are becoming more aware and sensitive about the privacy and security of their confidential information.
Although there’s a heightened focus on cybersecurity and electronic health records, we also need to consider our verbal interactions. Here are a few reminders to help “limit what you say” as you interact with your patients.

  • Make every attempt to speak with a patient about their care in a very private manner.  Ask the patient’s preference as to whether visitors or family members remain in the room or if they should be asked to step out before discussing the patient’s care and treatment options. Don’t assume that someone who accompanies or is visiting a patient is involved in their healthcare.

  • When you leave a voicemail about a patient, always limit the information to the minimum necessary. In most situations, leave your name, practice name and the number where you can be reached on the voicemail. Use discretion if your practice specialty identifies the patient’s condition or diagnosis, such as Oncology, Behavioral Health, etc.  Do not leave confidential information in a voicemail. Request that the patient or designated representative call back for further information at the number provided.

  • Discuss confidential information in secure environments or in a low voice so that others do not hear the discussion. Refrain from patient-related discussions in public locations, like the Skylight Waiting Area and other waiting areas.

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