Confidentiality Best Practices: Safeguarding the patient's privacy and confidentiality

oofiprivacyEvery contractor, employee, volunteer resident and medical provider who is exposed to, receives or has access to confidential information is required to maintain the confidentiality of that information. All information related to patient care is considered confidential information and must not be released or shared. When working with Personal Health Information (PHI), you should only access or disclose the minimum amount of data needed to do your job. 

Interpreters should:

  • Upon arrival to an assignment, provide the patient name and date of birth as patient identifiers to check in, but do so quietly and confidentially.
  • Remember – even if you are not speaking English, others may be able to understand your conversation. Do not discuss confidential medical or personal patient information in lobby areas, hallways, open rooms, registration areas, etc.
  • Do not make phone calls in public places and discuss patient information (name, phone, condition, etc.) where others can overhear. Do not leave encounter forms with patient personal information where others can see this information. If you take down patient appointment or personal information, please dispose of your notes in a secure SMC shredding bin. Do not request or use patient medical identification stickers on your encounter forms
  • Use shredder bins to dispose of any confidential information.
  • Do not post confidential information on social media sites.
  • Do not mention or discuss any patient assignment outside of your appointment; if you see the patient in the community, do not discuss any information or medical care information from your previous assignments with patients, family members or community members.
  • If you feel that the location of the patient will compromise the patient’s confidentiality (ex: patient in a double room, patient in open laboratory or radiology area), please notify the medical provider.
  • Obtain authorization to take patient data off site.
  • Keep papers with PHI out of public view and do not look at Swedish computer screens with PHI.
  • Disclose to SMC staff and/or your agency if a patient is a relative or friend, or and any other time that it may be a conflict of interest for you to interpret for this patient.

Keep information secured:

  • Paper: agency encounter forms with patient PHI, notes from appointments, etc. 
  • Mobile storage devices that have your appointment details 
  • Computers with interpreter assignment information 
  • In vehicles – secure out of sight; do not leave interpreter assignment information in plain view 
  • Text Messaging is not secure: Never send PHI or confidential information, work related or personal on your personal cell phone

YOUR Access to Epic

  • You are not allowed any access to Epic or to any Swedish computers or equipment.

Note: Patients can sit with their provider and review their medical record. If they want a copy, the must request it through Health Information Services office



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