A breach of privacy

The other day I saw a staff member getting into their car, and putting what looked like a handful of patient notes in the boot. He was probably off to see his patients at a clinic or do a home visit.   This sort of thing is not unusual, especially as we are very much a paper based system and need to take patient notes with us to do our jobs. However, I couldn’t help thinking how accountable we are for keeping the personal and sensitive details of our patients safe when their notes are in our care.   I bring this up as we have dealt with a case where patient information (contained in a notebook) was left in a vehicle, in full view while unattended. To compound matters, the car was broken into, and the notebook discarded along the way. While the notebook was retrieved, the Privacy Commissioner at the outset told CM Health that it had likely breached ‘Rule 5′ of the Health Information Privacy Code. In a nutshell, the Commissioner indicated that in this situation we did not take reasonable safeguards to protect the information contained in the notebook.

So what are reasonable safeguards, when it comes to transporting patients’ health information, for example, between sites?

Today I’m joined by John Hanson our Senior Legal Advisor who talks us through the intricacies of privacy law and how we can safeguard ourselves and our patients against breaches of privacy. If you are a health professional, who sometimes has to take notes off site to do your job, this is an interesting read.

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Posted in Achieving Zero Patient Harm, Patient Perspectives, Patient Safety | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Pushing the accelerator on integrated care

Benedict Hefford, Director of Primary Health and Community Services

Benedict Hefford, Director of Primary Health and Community Services

We are entering a new era in healthcare – one where we re-orientate our health system around primary and community care.   With a growing and ageing population and a rise in chronic and long-term conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, we have a challenge on our hands to integrate services and systems across the health spectrum and empower our healthcare users to keep themselves well and at home – away from unnecessary trips to hospital.

This renewed interest in integrated care has resulted in a number of projects, campaigns and improvement initiatives taking place across Counties Manukau. Each project has a specific goal, but ALL have the needs of the patient and family/whaanau at its core.

Today I’m joined by Benedict Hefford, Director of Primary Health and Community Services to talk about how projects such as ARI (At Risk Individuals) are starting to make a real difference to the lives of people living with one or more long-term conditions and other risk factors such as inadequate housing or low health literacy. As Benedict will explain people in this group are at greater risk of poor health outcomes, including unplanned trips to hospital, and they use a disproportionate amount of healthcare services.

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Posted in A Whole of Systems Approach, At Risk Individuals, Health Literacy, Health Targets, Healthy Living, Ko Awatea, Localities, Primary Care, Project Swift, Rheumatic Fever, Saving 20,000 Bed Days | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Congratulations to our CM Health cleaners

The cleaners at the Manukau SuperClinic celebrate the completion of their course

The cleaners at the Manukau SuperClinic celebrate the completion of their course

Now and then I come across a story of staff going the extra mile, whether it’s for their patients and colleagues or achieving personal and work milestones.  This week I’d like to recognise the 190 cleaners who have embarked on a Level 3 National Certificate in Cleaning and Caretaking.  This is the first, and largest intake of cleaners to undertake the course, not only locally but nationally.   I’m delighted to report that 55 cleaners have now graduated with many more to follow.

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Posted in Everyday Heroes, Staff Development, Workforce Development | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Kindness is a clinical intervention

Tim Keogh at Ko Awatea

Tim Keogh at Ko Awatea, CM Health

Values Week is underway and it’s been wonderful to see large numbers of staff, patients and whaanau take time out from busy jobs and lives to share what makes a good or bad day at work or a good or bad experience of care.

Today I’m joined by Tim Keogh, from April Strategy, who is facilitating our value workshops and sessions. Tim has a long history of helping organisations around the world reshape their values and has a passion for helping people to build positivity, skills and resilience to be the best they can be.

Tim talks to us about how the values sessions are going.

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Posted in Patient Centred Care, Patient Perspectives, Staff Development, Staff Engagement | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The personal side of ANZAC Day

Around this time every year, I always find myself reflecting on ANZAC Day and the solemn and heartfelt way in which Kiwis honour soldiers who died for their country.  This year holds a special significance for my family as my 17-year-old daughter has just joined the NZ Army and will graduate from basic training in June 2015.   Like many before her she joins a legacy of service women and men, who swore a pledge to protect and fight for their country.

Even 100 years on from the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, the spirit of ANZAC Day has not been lost. We still stop to pause, remember and be grateful for the young men and women who fought, and in many cases died, far from home.

Of course, many of us have ancestors who were among this group, or who served their country in successive wars. Today I’d like to share with you a story from Adrienne Kohler from the communications team, who shares her story about her great great Aunt, who was an ANZAC nurse.

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Start a conversation that counts

It’s not easy to talk about planning for your future and end-of-life care, but it is important. 

You may not have heard much about Advance Care Planning (ACP), but it’s something all of us will need to think of at some stage, for ourselves, our loved ones  and for our patients. Advance Care Planning is all about choice – choosing how you want to be treated at the end of your life. The concept is not new, and New Zealand is a bit behind the rest of the world in dealing with this sometimes challenging issue.  Today (16 April) is Conversations that Count Day – a national initiative led by a co-operative of hundreds of people across New Zealand’s health system that is encouraging us to have a ‘Conversation that Counts’. That is, talk to those we care about and with those who will care for us as the end approaches about what we would want for ourselves.

While end of life care isn’t an easy subject for health professionals to bring up, ACP can be a welcome topic for patients who may be worrying about the sort of care they will receive, but have been reluctant to discuss it with their whaanau.

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The empathy zone

During patient experience week (23-26 March), I popped in to the very popular empathy zone, where you could experience some of the challenges facing our patients and people living in our community. For example you could put on a pair of glasses, which reduce sight, use a wheelchair or crutches, try putting on a hospital gown with an arm splint and attempt simple tasks, like threading beads, while wearing padded gloves.

I tried on a pair of goggles, to see what it would be like for a person who has glaucoma – a condition that can cause blindness if left untreated.   What I experienced were blind spots in my vision, making it very hard to see. As I banged into chairs and tables, I kept thinking how would I cope with deteriorating vision on a day-to-day basis.

So what did other people experience?

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Posted in Patient Centred Care, Patient Perspectives, Patient Safety | Tagged , , | 2 Comments