“Privacy is dead, and social media holds the smoking gun.” – Pete Cashmore, CEO, Mashable
In a world of digital information, online lives, instant answers and immediate transactions, the concept of privacy is rapidly changing. We impatiently post our data onto innumerable websites to move freely in the world of digital commerce, social media and networking.
Are we becoming unconcerned about our privacy?
A 2005 Australian Medical Association survey revealed patients have strong concerns about the privacy and security of their medical records. Recent discussions about My Health Record reiterate the public’s desire for privacy over their sensitive information. Protecting patients’ privacy remains a fundamental element of the doctor–patient relationship. The struggle for the busy GP is knowing where the boundaries of privacy exist in a world of incessant requests for insurance reports, shared health summaries, updated referrals, medical certificates, legal matters and multidisciplinary care.
HealthPathways Melbourne is pleased to announce two new pathways that seek to help health practitioners do just that: make sense of privacy and consent issues quickly and simply. Designed for use at the point of care, the Privacy Information and Consent pathways summarise the principles and considerations relevant to primary care to help practitioners in their decision making.
Confusing as it may be, the onus is on the doctor to know and understand the laws governing privacy and consent in private practice. This tension between protecting privacy, seeking consent and meeting patient needs, is perhaps most overt in caring for young people in whom competence and autonomy hover in a murky grey zone.
For GPs working with the Doctors in Secondary Schools program, questions of privacy and consent are a daily reality. How does one make the call on who has access to a young person’s medical information, and who has final say over their management?
The answer lies in knowing where to look to find an answer to enable a considered response. And doing so quickly. HealthPathways Melbourne hope that these pathways provide much needed support to health practitioners and practice managers navigating the health information maze.
By Dr. Anita Muñoz
Disclaimer: This article was provided by HealthPathways Melbourne. While every effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate, North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network does not warrant or represent the accuracy, currency and completeness of any information or material included within.