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Newsline article (NZ Computer Society) May 2012

data breach; database; subscribers; identity information; media; misplaced, lost or stolen USB, laptop, i-phone; legal consequences; mandatory data breach notification; Law Commission

NZ Doctor series - Privacy Matters (#30)

3 November 2011

Good healthcare and good information are inseparable. Whatever your patient's condition, you need to know what's going on with them to give them good care.

Most of the time you will get that information by low-tech yet effective methods, such as talking. Talking gives you dozens of little data points. Data points assemble themselves into information, information becomes knowledge. And that knowledge is used to create a hypothesis about what might be wrong with th...

NZ Doctor series - Privacy Matters (#29)

26 August 2011

Nia Glassie's death was a tragedy.

Faced with tragedy like that, it is always natural to look for what could have been done to prevent it. Couldn't someone have passed on information to a person or agency that could take action? Raised the alarm? Blown the whistle?

Sadly, the answer is often 'yes'. But there's also a risk in 20/20 hindsight. In determining reasons and assigning blame, we need to make sure that we're not just picking out scapegoats.


NZ Doctor series - Privacy Matters (#28b)

8 July 2011

Having ready access to correct and up to date health information is important at the best of times. But at the worst of times, when people are faced with responding to a medical emergency, access to accurate and comprehensive clinical information on a patient's medical history can be critical - it may even mean the difference between life and death.

MedicAlert is an international 'not-for-profit' that identifies diagnosed medical conditions when patients can't speak...

NZ Doctor series - Privacy Matters (#28)

5 July 2011

As a doctor, you promise to keep the affairs of your patients secret, to protect their clinical confidentiality. This gives your patients the confidence to talk to you about all the things that might be important to their care. 'A secret is a thing you tell one other person', to quote U2. And, just like a secret, confidentiality is a relationship between two people.

Except health care doesn't happen between only two people any more - if it ever did. There are referra...

Newsline article (NZ Computer Society) June 2011

privacy breaches; vulnerabilities; website; personal information; technology; lost or stolen information; harm; mandatory privacy breach notification laws; compromised information; Law Commission

NZ Doctor series - Privacy Matters (#27)

16 May 2011

A core dilemma of health privacy is that medical records have to be both readily accessible for patient well-being but completely confidential for patient trust.

In practice, of course, these two contradictory tasks are reconciled without trouble. Patients trust their doctors to do the right thing, and it tends to work out OK.

However that undeniably high level of patient trust itself depends on a public faith that doctors are treating health information prope...

Newsline article (NZ Computer Society) May 2011

personal data; government agencies; social media; overseas; global community; identifying and managing risks; cloud services; overseas-based ICT; foreign agencies; survey; high privacy standards

NZ Doctor series - Privacy Matters (#26)

April 2011

When I tell people my line of work, their reply is almost always -'I suppose you can't talk about it, then!' And it is true that there are many stories that I can never tell.

But we learn through stories. They make sense of the dry contours of case and statute law and help us to understand each other a little better.

Partly because of this I issue case notes every now and then that set out the anonymised history of interesting or important complaints.[1]

NZ Doctor Series - Privacy matters (# 25)

February 2011

Keeping children safe is one of the goals of civilised society. We should be judged by how we treat our most vulnerable citizens. And the media, appropriately, make a lot of noise when it goes wrong. Anyone who listens to the news can recite a roll call of tragedy.

But what can be done to stop that roll call getting longer? One suggestion that often comes up is that government agencies should be sharing more information. If the agencies charged with guarding childr...

NZ Doctor Series - Privacy matters (# 24)

November 2010

In New Zealand a patient can expect to read their medical notes on request with only a few, rare, exceptions.

But what if their notes don't make sense? After all Latin, abbreviations and medical jargon can be rife in medicine. Patients who ask for a copy of their records may reasonably expect to get some help in understanding what they mean.

Most of the time this won't be a problem. But how would you explain about the slang that doctors, particularly in hosp...