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Patient confidentiality and telephone consultations: time for a password
  1. D K Sokol1,
  2. J Car2
  1. 1Centre for Professional Ethics, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire, UK
  2. 2Department of Primary Care and Social Medicine, Imperial College London
  1. Correspondence to:
 Daniel K Sokol
 Centre for Professional Ethics, Chancellor’s Building, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire, ST5 5BG, UK; daniel.sokol{at}talk21.com

Abstract

Although telephone consultations are widely used in the delivery of healthcare, they are vulnerable to breaches of patient confidentiality. Current guidelines on telephone consultations do not address adequately the issue of confidentiality. In this paper, we propose a solution to the problem: a password system to control access to patient information. Authorised persons will be offered the option of selecting a password which they will use to validate their request for information over the telephone. This simple yet stringent method of access control should improve security while allowing the continuing evolution of telephone consultations.

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • The idea has arisen from a study on patients’ trust in the use of medical records funded by the BUPA foundation.

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