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Promote good practice in handling information in health Essay

1. Understand requirements for handling information in health and social care settings

1.1 Identify legislation and codes of practice that relate to handling information in health and social care

There are several legislations and codes of practice that relates to handling information. Data protection Act 2008 is a law that protects personal privacy and upholds individuals rights. This Act gives rights to the people the information is about, data subjects puts obligations on the people who held information, data controllers, non-compliance is a criminal offence. The freedom of information Act 2000 is the Act that gives you the right to ask any public body for all information they have on the chosen subject. Unless there’s a good reason, the organisation must provide information within 20 days. The care quality commission also apply rules and regulations that need to be followed. Now they have the legal right to close a home down if it doesn’t follow the procedures. Any information that you write about an individual has to be fact and written in clear, readable writing. You also have to sign and date everything that you write.

1.2 Summarise the main points of legal requirements and codes of practice for handling information in health and social care

The main points are, to keep any information on a need to know basis, to hold any information shared to you as private and confidential, unless the service user tells people himself, or says otherwise. Do not discuss anything in earshot of other people, keep everything under lock and key. There are 8 enforceable principles and they are: Fairly and lawfully processed, processed for limited purposes, adequate and relevant and not excessive, accurate, not kept longer than necessary, processed in accordance with the data subject’s rights, kept secure and finally, not transferred to countries without adequate protection.

2. Be able to implement good practice in handling information

2.1 Describe features of manual and electronic information storage systems that help ensure

Apart from what i have mentioned in the question below, manual systems, which are paper type records, for example, text, photos, X-Ray, hand written notes or comments, etc, these require to be out of general view when in use and locked away when not in use or attended. Lockable filing cabinets, locked rooms and special vaults and safes can also be used. Electronic records can be protected by password access to the computer, to the folder, to the file. Some systems allow access to anything electronic by only authorised personnel based on employee number or similar. Some computers are not connected to the internet to avoid the risk of intervention. Movement of data should require that the data is first encrypted so if intercepted cannot be viewed.

2.2 Demonstrate practices that ensure security when storing and accessing information

We use what we call an electronic vault, which is a system that stores the data that is imputed into a secret file and can only be seen by management with a secure password. Anybody who wants the info has to ask the manager and she works on a need to know basis. Also care plans, Mars sheets and any document relating to one of the service users is locked away until it needs to be used. This ensures confidentiality and who gets to see them. We even keep information away from family and friends. The thing we say to them is, if the individual wanted them to know, then they will tell them.

2.3 Maintain records that are up to date, complete, accurate and legible

It is important to keep records which are up to date to provide accurate, current, full and correct information concerning the condition and the care required for all individuals. All records which are produced weather written or electronic must be signed and dated; they must also be stored correctly in accordance with that data protection act 1998. It is vital that records are kept up to date, as this ensures that the individual’s needs are being met and may also help to reduce the likelihood of abuse. If an organisation failed to keep up to date records about their service users then this could lead to serious concerns being raised and could also lead to their company reputation being damaged.

Service users must be told about any changes made within their personal records and care plan files. Effective record keeping by health care workers can also ensure that a high standard of health and social care is being provided within the working environment. All information written in files must be clear and relevant and must never be discussed outside of a work, as this would again breach the customer confidentiality law, the law also states that if it’s not written down, then it never happened, so this is yet another reason as to why it is so important to keep up to date records, regarding an individual’s general health and well-being. All information recorded must be fact and not guess work or ideas.

3. Be able to support others to handle information

3.1 Support others to understand the need for secure handling of information

This is all in the confidentiality training that everybody does. I would teach newbies how to handle information, why it has to be kept confidential, eg legislation, laws etc and show them the effect that mistrust can have on not only us, but the service user as well. The secure handling of information in an organisation is often vital. In health care settings there are numerous regulations for us to follow to safeguard the confidential and security of data. To support new employees on this vital task during orientation the policies and procedures should be gone over as well as examples scenarios to help drive home the topic. Think of the obvious. Explain how you tell new staff about this and describe what you do if you find a colleague has left confidential documents lying about, do you remind them why records should be kept securely or do you just put the records away and not say anything?

3.2 Support others to understand and contribute to records

Let’s say a new work colleague might have some new ideas on how to support someone, instead of thinking she just goes and puts the new ideas in place herself without asking her supervisor. The proper way would be to have a meeting, discuss it and if new ideas are being put into place, then guidelines or support plans would need to be updated so things can be changed. So this is where you need to explain how she should have dealt with it, contributing is putting it down on records which are the support plans etc.

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