Home Health & Hospice

Keeping patient records safe

Homecare Insider, March 28, 2014

An agency must make smart decisions to keep patient information confidential. Making sure you develop a plan to protect their personal records must be a priority. Click the link above to learn more about patient confidentiality.  

The patient has a right to confidentiality of the clinical records maintained by the agency. It is the agency’s responsibility that this is taken care of.

These rights encompass many things, including:
  • Records in the office
  • Records in the home
  • Records in transit
  • Paper trails in the office
  • Record releases
  • Faxing information
To ensure that you are being compliant, incorporate and/or verify the following points into agency policy:
  • Identify, by position or title, who has access to the clinical and billing records
  • Describe a procedure for records that staff carry with them as well as records maintained in the home. Identify:
o    Which forms staff can carry with them and which forms can remain in the home
o    Who copies the forms for the home and traveling records
o    What happens to forms when they are no longer needed
o    Measures to maintain ­confidentiality
 
Confidentiality must be a focus. It can be hard for homecare professionals, who are always on the go, to make this a ­priority, but it must be. Ensure that staff understand the importance of keeping patient information confidential and perform quality checks to ensure it is ­happening.