By: Barrie Quappé MPA, RN, BSN – Consultant/Director:
In January 2017, the Office of the Auditor General issued a report on the Cayman Islands Health System inclusive of public/statutory and private providers for hospitals to small healthcare facility offices. It is a solid factual report on what exists at the time of writing the report. For this short writing, I wanted to focus on your privacy. Do you know how secure your medical information is?
Let’s start with this report. On page 56 you can read a short paragraph on the “Regulation of Patient Privacy”. I invite you to take a look here.
Consider other possible impacts:
- How many medical providers have your private information?
- Who answers the telephone when doctor offices call insurance companies to find out your level of coverage? Will they be told of the proposed treatment/surgery to discuss the financial aspects and do they have any understanding of medical treatments?
- Oversight agencies. The Cayman Islands government is subject to the Freedom of Information laws. Can they impact your privacy should an information request be filed?
I studied our FOI system and while it was well received by the public generally, it is still fairly new. There are discoveries to be made in the way the law is applied and the training of the civil servants asked to administer this.
What about other administrative enforcement officers – can they may access your information? The Health Practice Law (2017 Revision) requires healthcare facilities to be inspected against the list of National Standards.
Do you know?
While I may have raised a few brows, my intent is to wake up our critical thinking and not allow others to govern us while we labour with fettered views. Having had the privilege to serve in our version of the Ombudsman office, the Complaints Commission, I was sent to a regional conference of Caribbean Ombudsman. It was at this rare opportunity where I heard Baroness Rennie Fritchie, DBE, discuss various aspects that Ombudsmen must consider such as “Standards in Public Life”, “Ethics” and much more including “Leaders”. Of Leaders she said: “…the time of deference is past” and this presentation was given in 2008. Regarding “Public Services” she notes:
“To command public confidence, ethical regulators need to be robustly and conspicuously independent, and the system of regulation needs to be proportionate and coherent.”
However, these concepts must be consistently taught for any public service to deliver such regulations in a fair and reasonable manner. It is a tall order.
However, each and every one of us must ask our providers, who has access to my information? What are the possible risks that you or other members of your medical team may have to divulge my medical records and how will this be done?
Every remedy begins with a conversation. Let’s have one.