"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust

As a health system, we go to great lengths to protect the privacy of our patients.  We are constantly reminding our employees of preserving and protecting patient information.  You routinely hear of famous people's patient information being breached and sold to tabloids.  At WMHS, we continually run audits to determine if such breaches occur.  Not that George Clooney has ever been hospitalized at WMHS (and I couldn't tell you if he was), but we do get local VIPs and we will audit their electronic records to ensure that access has been limited to those involved with that patient's care.  Our number of breaches has been reduced dramatically over the years as all System employees know that if you breach confidentiality of a patient you will be terminated.  I make that perfectly clear at New Employee Orientation and then every opportunity thereafter of our policy and how seriously it is taken.  Of late, any such breaches have been the result of employees who have friends, acquaintances or family members as patients and they access their records.  It doesn't matter if you are checking grandma's lab results just to make sure that she is OK.  If you do and you don't have the need to know that information in the course of your position at WMHS, you are fired.   As I noted earlier, the numbers of breaches are very few each year; however, I am striving for none.

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