Confidentiality in the waiting room: an observational study in general practice

Scott, Kate and Dyas, Jane V. and Middlemass, Jo B. and Siriwardena, A. Niroshan (2007) Confidentiality in the waiting room: an observational study in general practice. British Journal of General Practice, 57 (539). pp. 490-493. ISSN 0960-1643

Full content URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC207819...

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Confidentiality in the waiting room: an observational study in general practice
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Abstract

An ethnographic study using overt non-participatory observation was used to investigate confidentiality breaches in 13 GP practice reception and/or waiting areas in Lincolnshire. Staff and patient behaviours were observed for 2 hours. Aspects of management systems and physical environment were also thematically analysed. Forty-four instances occurred where patient identifiable information was overheard. Of these
instances, 22 were initiated by staff, 22 by patients, 33 face-to-face, and 10 from telephone conversations. Breaches included name and address, symptoms, conditions, or test results. Interaction between systems and physical environment in relation to ‘attention focus’, ‘sound’ and ‘layout’, increased the likelihood of breach of confidentiality. Further research on the patient perspective is recommended.

Additional Information:An ethnographic study using overt non-participatory observation was used to investigate confidentiality breaches in 13 GP practice reception and/or waiting areas in Lincolnshire. Staff and patient behaviours were observed for 2 hours. Aspects of management systems and physical environment were also thematically analysed. Forty-four instances occurred where patient identifiable information was overheard. Of these instances, 22 were initiated by staff, 22 by patients, 33 face-to-face, and 10 from telephone conversations. Breaches included name and address, symptoms, conditions, or test results. Interaction between systems and physical environment in relation to ‘attention focus’, ‘sound’ and ‘layout’, increased the likelihood of breach of confidentiality. Further research on the patient perspective is recommended.
Keywords:confidentiality, general practice, primary care, data protection, ethnography, observation
Subjects:B Subjects allied to Medicine > B714 Practice Nursing
A Medicine and Dentistry > A300 Clinical Medicine
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Health & Social Care
ID Code:7166
Deposited On:29 Dec 2012 12:23

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