Confidentiality in Healthcare: Why Does It Matter?

Confidentiality in Healthcare Why Does It Matter

Confidentiality is the act of keeping patients’ health or personal information private. The Malaysia Medical Council (MMC) has created a Confidentiality Guideline for medical practitioners to secrete any shared particulars. 

Take a look at why confidentiality is a sine qua non in your medical practice. 

Why Does Confidentiality Matter

Why Does Confidentiality Matter?

Practising confidentiality is the key to tighten the trust between patients and their doctors. Any clinic and hospital staff should be responsible for preventing patients’ information leakage.

Some patients are not comfortable with sharing their medical records with a third party. For instance, sexual assault victims are less likely to disclose their medical reports due to social stigma around survivors. 

The MMC will take legal actions against those who fail to commit this act according to Section 30 of the 1971 Medical Act. Therefore, it is in everyone’s best interest to conduct good medical ethics. 

How to Know a Confidentiality Breach?

It is vital to recognise various types of confidentiality breaches. Here are the most common types of privacy violations:

  1. Unauthorised access to clinical records and histories, regardless of paper or computer documentation.
  2. Providing clinical information to medical personnel who is not in charge of patients’ medical care.
  3. Improper disclosure due to insufficient clinical facilities and management.
  4. Sharing patients’ medical conditions or personal information with family and friends.
  5. Discussing confidential information in a public area.

How to Protect Patients’ Confidentiality?

How to Know a Confidentiality Breach

You can consider these strategies to ensure protection upon your patients’ information: 

  1. Patient Confidential Agreement Form 

The purpose of this agreement form is to ensure clinic staff do not divulge any patient-related information and record. This agreement also acts as proof in case there is a breach of confidentiality. 

  1. Strengthen Password Security

Clinical staff must encrypt computer-saved medical data with passwords. Do note that it is safer to create different passcodes for each file to avoid third-party easy access. 

  1. Soundproofing Healthcare Environment 

Although soundproofing your examination office can cost much expenditure, investing in a proper room acoustics system can have a positive impact on healing and working attitude. It is also essential to prevent noise emissions from your office as others might overhear any private conversations taking place inside. 

When to Disclose Patients’ Information?

When to Disclose Patients’ Information

It is wise only to reveal medical and personal details upon patients’ approval.

However, there are five exclusive circumstances when doctors have the right to disclose patients’ medical records. 

  1. The patient is a suspected criminal
  2. The patient’s documentation is needed for court or statute purposes
  3. The health condition must be disclosed to a close relative for their best interest 
  4. The patient’s consent cannot be obtained during an emergency
  5. The patient’s health condition bears a potential threat to the public (e.g. COVID-19 cases) 

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Health Screening: Ways to Advance the Procedure

Health Screening Ways to Advance the Procedure

Health screening is essential when detecting any hidden diseases or conditions at an early stage. It is helpful for medical practitioners to perform early diagnosis before the disease progresses to the advanced stages. 

However, some patients may not be cooperative during the screening process. A study showed that factors such as negative experiences, complicated procedures, and time constraints could refrain patients from attending their health screening appointments. 

Learn more about how to improve health screening procedures for patients to overcome their complications below.

Health Screening

1. Video Education on Health Screening 

One of the main factors for low patient attendance in health screening is the lack of medical knowledge. Patients are less likely to undergo health screening procedures as they tend to get confused by the complicated process or various misinformation.

Consequently, practitioners must educate the public on the overall procedure and different types of chronic diseases. A practical method is recording a short clip that provides a comprehensible explanation that can be attainable on social media platforms like Facebook or YouTube.  

Each video recording should preferably be less than 5 minutes long, with audio subtitles available. Furthermore, please refrain from using complex medical jargon as the target audience are less likely to understand them. 

2. Digitalised Health Questionnaire 

Digitalised Health Questionnaire

Although the majority prefers a face-to-face consultation, bear in mind that some patients are unable or uncomfortable with verbally describing their health conditions. Practitioners should prepare a questionnaire for those who prefer online communication. 

Practitioners can achieve this by using a simple Google Form that includes a range of short-answer questions, scale ratings, yes/no questions, and checkboxes. This way, patients have the chance to answer a variety of questions without feeling lethargic. They will be more confident in providing information when there is no pressure to give out detailed answers.  

Medical practitioners can benefit from this survey mode as well. Based on the patients’ answers, it is easy to compare and get quantitative and qualitative data. 

Again, try not to use complicated medical jargon when designing your questionnaire. 

3. Health Screening Tracking App

Have you ever encountered patients who keep losing their medical record cards? It is time to discard the small paper card and transition to a digital record via mobile app. This application will appeal to patients who lead a busy lifestyle and the elderly population.

When creating a simple yet efficient mobile app, you should consider usability, readability, and functionality. If the app interface design is excessively vibrant and the font size is below 12pt, patients are less likely to utilise it. 

Health Screening Tracking App

The function of the app is for patients to track screening history and review screening results easily. Besides that, patients could conveniently make and alter their follow-up screening appointment dates. Simultaneously, the app will push a reminder notification when their screening appointment date is approaching.

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Ways to Reduce Medication Error and Improve Administration Safety

Ways to Reduce Medication Error and Improve Administration Safety

Medication Error is a preventable adverse effect of medical care that leads to potential harm to patients. The common types of Medication Errors are wrong time error, unauthorised drug error, omission error, and dose error. 

Medication Error

Major factors that contribute to Medication Error are: 

  • Carelessness
  • Exhaustion
  • Unclear Medication Instructions
  • Heavy Workload
  • Lack of Training 

Not to worry; here are several ways to minimise Medication Error cases in your clinic that concurrently improvise your medical administration safety. 

1. Reduce Working Shift Hours

Health practitioners tend to work extended hours in clinics and hospitals to offer the utmost care for patients. However, this adversely affects these hardworking physicians as they experience sleep deprivation, fatigue, and suicidal thoughts

Hence, medical providers need to be aware of their working hours as much as they care about their patients. Besides, a forward rotation of shift work that will not disrupt the circadian rhythm may lead to less fatigue in the workplace. 

Not only do reasonable working hours minimise exhaustion or stress in the workplace, but they also improve working satisfaction and motivation. 

Reduce Working Shift Hours

2. Proper Labelling and Branding to Avoid Medication Error

Similar medicine packaging and appearance may cause pharmacists to supply the wrong medicine to their patients accidentally. It is crucial to properly arrange the treatment according to their respective expiry date label and manufacture brand. 

Moreover, different medicine brands contain different ingredients, even though they serve to treat the same illness. Therefore, proper labelling helps in handing out the right medicine to avoid fatal cases like drug allergies

3. Proper Communication System

With unclear instructions, nurses and pharmacists can get confused when issuing medication to their patients. They might misinterpret the doctor’s hasty handwriting, which leads to providing the wrong dosage or timing. 

One way to counter this problem is to adopt a proper communication strategy among staff members. For example, the STICC Protocol (situation, task, intent, concern, calibrate) encourages teams to provide feedback upon vague instructions.   

Another way to improve communication efficiency is digitalised messages. Instead of giving prescriptions in rapid writing, doctors can send brief emails on the patients’ diagnosis results and further instructions. 

In short, an excellent practitioner-nurse interaction can reduce chances of medical error. 

Proper Communication System

4. Training Program on Medication Error

Many beginner-level medical practitioners may have learnt how to avoid medical errors, yet it is hard for them to recognise or manage this problem. Thus, a training program on detecting such errors is fundamental in clinics or hospitals. 

Simulation-based learning programs prove to be functional in instructing various potential errors in healthcare. Trainees can learn different ways to encounter possible errors and collaborate to solve them.

Fully-trained staff can carry out the performance during training in an actual working environment. Another positive benefit from this training is optimising teamwork ability among members to overcome medical errors. 

Training Program on Medication Error

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Common Questions About Epilepsy

Epilepsy, a common neurological disease, is a chronic disorder that causes repetitive seizures.

A seizure is a sudden rush of electrical activity in the brain.

There are two types of seizures; generalized seizures and focal seizures. 

Generalized seizures affect the whole brain while focal seizures affect just one part of the brain. 

Symptoms

Epilepsy is caused by abnormal activity in the brain. Sign and symptoms include: 

  • Temporary confusion
  • A staring spell or gaze
  • Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Psychic symptoms such as fear and anxiety.

Risk Factors

The risk of having epilepsy may be increased by certain factors, namely:

  • Family history: A person can develop a seizure disorder when any family member has epilepsy.
  • Age: Evidently, the disease is more common in children and older adults.
  • Head injuries.
  • Stroke and other vascular diseases: This can lead to brain damage and triggers epilepsy.

Complications

This disease, like many other diseases, comes with several complications. 

Seizures at certain times may be dangerous to patients and to others.

For instance, the likelihood of falling during a seizure attack is high. Falling during a seizure may injure the head.

Epileptic patients are also more likely to drown while bathing or swimming.

Moreover, epilepsy during pregnancy may pose danger to both the mother and the fetus.

To add, a certain anti-epileptic drug may increase the risk of birth defects. Discuss with your doctor before planning to get pregnant.

On the other hand, people with epilepsy tend to get psychological problems, such as depression, and anxiety. This is because of the difficulties dealing with the condition itself and medication side effects.

Treatment

Several types of treatments exist to treat this disease. 

Most commonly patients are treated with oral medications, called anti-epileptic drugs. 

However, if oral medications fail to give desirable effect, another type of treatment is also available, such as:

  • Vagus nerve stimulator: This device is placed under the skin on the chest during surgery. It electrically stimulates the nerve that runs through your neck and prevents seizures.
  • Ketogenic diet: This is a high fat with low carbohydrate diet.
  • Brain surgery: Remove the area of the brain that causes seizures.

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If you want to use our service as a supplier, feel free to contact us here

REFERENCES

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Making your skin younger is easier with antioxidant-rich foods

Making your skin younger is easier with antioxidant-rich foods

A research was conducted to see if eating foods that are high in antioxidants can protect against premature skin ageing.

The research was done on individuals who are exposed to sun damage and with moderate to high UV exposure.

777 Australian adults from both genders with a mean age of 39 years participated in this research. 

Their estimated total dietary antioxidant was estimated. 

Moreover, the participants’ photoaging severity was looked into using microtopography over 15-year follow up, in three-time points.

Initially, 42% of the population has had severe photoaging
(grades ranging to 5 or 6). 

Obviously, the number increases to 51% and 89% in 1996 and 2007, respectively. 

Individuals with high photoaging grades had the following characteristics, which are: 

  • Older
  • More likely to be male,
  • Was born in Australia or New Zealand
  • Fair skin that always burned
  • Outdoor occupations
  • Clinical photoaging around the
    neck 
  • ≥1 actinic keratosis

Participants whose diets consisted of fruits, lower intakes
of red meat, oily fish, soft drinks, tea, unrefined cereals and vegetables, as well as a greater amount of wine consumed than beer had a greater antioxidant capacity and they tended to be female, not currently smoking, older, regular consumers of dietary supplements and users of sunscreen, among others.

The levels of photoaging were not associated with body mass
index, leisure-time sun exposure, smoking status, sunscreen use prior to trial, and trial treatment allocation.

The researchers also stated that consumption of foods with
high vs low antioxidant capacity reduced photoaging by 10 per cent over 15 years among adults aged >45 years on an ordinal logistic regression analysis. Antioxidants from foods may mitigate the effects of sun exposure on skin ageing among healthy men and women aged >45 years.

For more articles like this, click here.

References