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NZ Doctor Series - Privacy Matters (# 6)

5 December 2007

Health information is fluid. When you get down to it, diagnoses, test results, comments, interviews, opinions are all just bits of data that can be endlessly processed and rearranged. However, to do that we need health information technology. This, too, is fluid - to put it mildly.

In fact health information technology changes so fast that there is a minor industry devoted to keeping people informed about developments. This was apparent at Health Informatics New...

NZ Doctor Series - Privacy Matters (# 5)

10 October 2007

A recent survey[1] indicated more than a quarter of a million Americans die from medical error annually. Figures from New Zealand DHBs suggest a smaller, but still alarming, 150 deaths a year. 'People are dying and we have to do something!' Is there any louder call to action?

A tempting response to this call is to find a technological solution: the liberal app...

NZ Doctor Series - Privacy Matters (# 4)

1 August 2007

Healthcare is all about trust. Doctors trust their patients to be honest and cooperative, patients trust their doctors to give them the care they need.

And for doctors to get complete and reliable information from their patients, patients need to be able to trust what their doctors are going to do with that information.

I believe good information privacy practices foster this relationship of trust, and this belief is borne out by the stories I hear from ar...

NZ Doctor Series - Privacy Matters (# 3)

6 June 2007

What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

Quoting the Hippocratic Oath can be a cliché in articles like these. But the promise embodied by the Oath is as important today as it has ever been. Patients expect that their precious personal information will be treated with total resp...

NZ Doctor Series - Privacy Matters (# 2)

11 April 2007

Medical professionals have a keen understanding of ethical obligations and patient confidentiality. This shows in the complaints I receive - only 16% relate to health, even though New Zealanders view their health information as very sensitive.

To help doctors do their job, my predecessor issued the Health Information Privacy Code. It adapted the principles of the Privacy Act for use in clinical practice and came out in 1994, only a year after the Privacy Act itself...

NZ Doctor Series - Privacy Matters (# 1)

14 February 2007

The Privacy Commissioner is often thought of as the Secrecy Commissioner. I'm used to introducing myself and getting the response, 'I suppose you can't tell us what you do, can you?' In actual fact, privacy is not 'all about' secrecy any more than medicine is 'all about' antibiotics.

In the past data, or information, had to be written on paper or stuffed into fallible memories. But these days we live and breathe in a cloud of digital information. EFT-POS, Flybuy...

On The Record health guide

On the Record is a ready reference and practical guide for managing common situations that people in the health sector face. It uses examples to illustrate how privacy law works and gives advice on developing policies. Our aim is that it will give practical advice that you can apply easily within your workplace.

However, On the Record cannot answer every question and it does not stand alone. It needs to be read alongside the rules in the He...