Patient Care Documents Found on Street – Alert
Having worked in the secure document destruction industry for years now, we regularly hear stories about paper handling gone awry. A recent story about patient care documents found on street makes us especially aware of the importance of proper document destruction.
Most of these stories, however, are never released to the public. When news gets out, it helps the public see just how critical correct document destruction practices are for both organisations and individuals.
Barwon Health has launched an investigation into the McKellar Centre in North Geelong, following the recent discovery of sensitive paperwork in Ballarat Road. The service has admitted that inappropriate document destruction procedures have been in place at this centre, as it is the second time such an error has occurred in less than a year.
The Geelong Advertiser sighted the document in question, which contained information regarding room numbers and several rehabilitation patients’ personal information, including weight. The paper appeared to have been recycled the casual, old-fashioned way – as scrap paper – and was torn and scribbled on.
In August 2019, private paperwork was discovered near the same centre that revealed information about patients’ mental health conditions and medications.
While this latest incident is being investigated, all Victorians should be looking closely at their own medical service providers and ensuring that their personal information is stored and destroyed securely.
This is particularly true in recent months, considering the COVID-19 pandemic. With the introduction of new and stricter protocols, as well as the need for contact tracing with coronavirus, the administration of patient information is even more important than before.
The recent events in North Geelong highlight the potential for procedural gaps in an industry that handles some of the public’s most sensitive personal data – medical histories and health records. Financial and family-related information is also regularly collected and filed.
As Victoria moves into the next stage of COVID-19 pandemic management, organisations must audit their procedures around the collection, storage and secure destruction of documents.
iShred leads the document destruction industry in Melbourne and beyond, providing professional advice and services based on years of experience. All of our services are compliant with the new Privacy Act 1988 and are NAID Certified.