Industry Experts

What’s Your Privacy Culture Like?

In this blog, we discuss the importance of a 'privacy culture' in allied health practices.

By Sarah Bartholomeusz | Oct 14, 2021

Have you been thinking about how to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of your clients in your allied health practice?

Or do you think that simply by having a Privacy Policy you have ticked all the boxes and are 100% compliant?

 

Sure, having an up-to-date policy is incredibly important (in fact, vital) to show you are committed to protecting your client’s sensitive information. However, there is a lot more required – there needs to be an overall privacy culture supporting it. Each person in a Practice has a role to play when it comes to protecting privacy.

What even is ‘privacy culture’?

Culture in general, as defined in the Miriam Webster dictionary, is “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organisation”. Ever heard of the phrase its ‘What you do when no one is watching?’ That pretty much sums it up! Doing the right thing when no one is watching is vital in healthcare settings in particular, otherwise – you could be going up the creek without a paddle.

So, how can I nurture a positive privacy culture?

 

Get into a routine, and make sure the following are included:

 

1. First and foremost – you do need a well-documented Privacy Policy – tips on doing so can be found here [Link]. The changes to the landscape in which medical practices operate has made regular policy review, and updates, vital.

 

2. Ongoing training of staff in privacy compliance is also essential. This also includes how to recognise and respond to suspected data breaches. Employees must understand the Policy, and be able to access it. Also, frequent reminders for employees of the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ never hurt!

 

3. Monitor your compliance – regularly audit risk areas and have meetings purely for this purpose.

 

4. If a complaint or a breach does occur, investigate it thoroughly and document the follow up! You may also need to make a report if there has been a data breach. Therefore, understanding the Mandatory Data Breach laws should be included in your Privacy Training regime as well.

 

At the end of the day, Privacy compliance isn’t something that simply happens in your practice. It needs to be worked towards, with professional development and routines. The most important of which is a regular review process. You could have the best Privacy Policy in Australia, but without others in your Practice embodying it, there is no culture of compliance. Therefore, nothing to manage your risk as the practice owner.

If you have any questions about this topic, or anything else for that matter, click here to contact us today.

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