Confidentiality Awareness

To discuss patient information, move to a private place where others can not overhear the conversation.

Do not discuss patient information in elevators, hallways, lunchroom, restroom, or other public spaces: around patient rooms; in exam rooms with open doors; or while registering patients.

Remember to escort hard-of-hearing patients to private areas before asking them sensitive questions.

Close the door when retrieving messages from a message machine, because sensitive information could be inadvertently shared with others.

Don't use the speaker phone to listen to messages or to talk with colleagues about confidential information, because this could be overheard.

Share patient information only with those who need to know. If you are uncertain about whether someone needs to know, keep quiet.

Shut your computer off or lock your screen saver when moving away from your desk or the computer terminal, even for a few minutes.

Do not even consider accessing data that you should not see.

Offer only appropriate information, as requested. Do not share more than is requested.

Ensure that patient information is not left on fax machines, printers, copiers, table tops, and so forth.

When printing confidential material on a printer shared with colleagues in the department, make sure you "stand by" and retrieve the material as rapidly as possible.

Ensure that sensitive patient information is disposed of properly (for example, shredded rather than simply thrown intact into a trash can).

Be vigilant about carelessly voiced comments or notes that might include patient-identifiable information.

Do not include sensitive patient information on voice mail or e-mail, and do not forward such information via voice or e-mail.

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