Posted: July 22nd, 2021

How can nurses safeguard patient confidentiality


How can nurses safeguard affected person confidentiality within the wake of studies of Nationwide Well being Service (NHS) computer systems being hacked, making affected person information weak to exploitation?


An investigation by Milmo (2016a) in ‘i’ newspaper lately reported that the NHS is coming beneath assault from cyber blackmailers with growing frequency. The blackmailers usually threaten to deprave NHS pc methods by activating web viruses, known as ‘ransomware’ which could be despatched to NHS computer systems undetected and which, if activated, can result in sufferers’ medical information turning into weak to exploitation. The info held inside these information extra extremely valued to criminals than financial institution particulars, based on Europol.

Up to now, 28 UK NHS trusts have acquired ransomware assaults within the final yr, 4 of which have been reported as resulting in breaches of knowledge safety and confidentiality legal guidelines (Milmo, 2016b). NHS digital, which is chargeable for cyber safety within the Well being Service in England has denied that affected person information had been accessed, however eight London Hospital trusts wouldn't remark.

Particular person NHS trusts are chargeable for safeguarding affected person knowledge and should report any breaches to NHS digital. All registered nurses, and people beneath their supervision corresponding to well being care assistants, whether or not employed within the NHS or the non-public sector have an expert duty to guard affected person’s privateness and confidentiality (Nursing and Midwifery Council, (NMC), 2015:6).

Normal recommendation offered by Myers et al., (2008) contains sustaining vigilance for inappropriate info disclosure, avoiding making non-electronic copies of affected person associated info, making certain consciousness of native knowledge safety insurance policies and that they're complied with. As key communicators between totally different professionals inside multidisciplinary care groups, nurses should stability the necessity to talk with these concerned in affected person care with making certain that delicate info is simply offered to those that can display clear want for it, and might assure its safety. Different precautions embody not sending any affected person associated info utilizing open (i.e., non -encrypted) servers corresponding to Gmail, and advising sufferers to not embody private knowledge in social media or textual content messaging (Groshong & Phillips, 2015).

Groshong, L. and Phillips, D., 2015. The impression of digital communication on confidentiality in medical social work apply. Medical Social Work Journal, 43(2), pp.142-150.

Milmo, C., 2016a Hackers assault at the very least 28 NHS trusts with cyber blackmail plot. ‘i’, 10th October, 2016 pp. 6-7

Milmo, C., 2016b Well being information price far more than financial institution particulars. ‘i’, 10th October, 2016 p7

Myers, J., Frieden, T.R., Bherwani, Okay.M. and Henning, Okay.J., 2008. Ethics in public well being analysis: privateness and public well being in danger: public well being confidentiality within the digital age. American Journal of Public Well being, 98(5), pp.793-801.

Nursing and Midwifery Council 2015. The Code: skilled requirements of apply and behavior for nurses and midwives [online] accessible at accessed eighth October 2016


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