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5 Tips for Promoting Patient Privacy Awareness to Your Employees

Written by Tim Burris, HCISPP, Product Manager, Privacy and Security - iatricSystems

Patient Privacy Blog Header Sept 2019

Healthcare Privacy is tied to a growing number of rules, regulations, policies and procedures. For the average healthcare employee, it can be difficult to keep track of everything they need to know. Therefore, organizations should prioritize awareness as a part of their privacy strategy. Awareness is the process of educating your staff, not only on these policies and procedures, but why they are important. Awareness is a vital step in influencing a positive privacy culture.

I am hosting an educational privacy awareness webinar on Sept 19th, and I wanted to give you a preview and share some of my top tips here to get you thinking about things you can implement now to improve your privacy awareness training.

Tip #1: Mix it up

When considering your awareness program, think about the various ways that your staff members get their information. Remember that one strategy will not always work for everyone, so mix it up and use different angles to get privacy education in front of your staff. The more they see the message, the more likely it is to stick.

Tip #2: Start on day 1

In most cases, privacy education begins on the first day of work. Many organizations provide orientation to new hires. Be sure to include privacy education in this orientation so that you are laying a good foundation of what is expected.

In addition to implementing a physical presentation on the how and why of patient privacy, also make sure it is included in their employee handbook and any orientation handouts.

Tip #3: Create Awareness at the Department Level

Each department may have different procedures to help them operate efficiently. An emergency room, ICU, and Laboratory all have different workflows, and thus different privacy risks.

A focus on awareness is important at the local level. Department managers and team members all play a role in making sure that everyone is operating with privacy in mind. In some cases, it may be helpful to post reminders in work areas and make privacy a topic in routine department meetings. 

Tip #4: Create Awareness at the Organizational Level

Most organizations have systems to communicate with all staff like bulletins, group e-mails, or newsletters. When considering patient privacy at the organizational level, make sure that you carve out a spot in these communications. A bi-weekly privacy article on a simple topic can be both interesting and educational.

Tip #5: Learn from mistakes

Every incident is a learning opportunity. If incidents occur, use them as educational resources and use cases to help prevent further incidents. Don’t hide mistakes. Carefully explain to staff members what violations occurred, and why this was an issue.

Awareness is just a matter of getting the message out – clearly and regularly. It is an important driver of privacy culture and can even help prevent costly privacy breaches. And best of all, awareness isn’t expensive. It just takes a little time to post a reminder, discuss a topic in a meeting, or publish articles in a newsletter.

I will be discussing the topic of promoting privacy awareness to your employees in an upcoming live webinar, on Thursday September 19th at 2 pm ET. Register here for this informative session. If you are unable to attend at that time, you can register anyway and I will send out the recording after the webinar.


 

Topics: patient privacy, patient privacy monitoring, cybersecurity, protect PHI, privacy awareness

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