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Use and develop systems that promote communication

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Analyse the essential features of information sharing agreements within and between organisations.

I understand that Certain information will need to be shared between Staff and outside organisations and that information can only be disclosed if it is in the residents best interests or for the protection of others or in the interest of public health, investigation, or if a serious crime committed. All Information should only ever be shared on a need to know basis. For example, if a resident had a fall in the home where I work, I may need to pass on details of the residents medication to the ambulance crew, as this would be in the residents best interest but you would not need to pass them details of financial information as this is not relevant and the ambulance do not have a need to know. Other examples could include an outbreak of an infection control at work, which by law this has to be reported (RIDDOR).

I would also need to ensure that the resident is fully informed about how information shared may be used.

Management have the final responsibility in ensuring information held on residents is wherever possible non-identifiable, used only when necessary and by the people who need to know and is stored securely. Most importantly that the company’s policies are adhered to and are working in relation to the handling and collecting and using and storing of information.

The Caldecott principles 1997 which is part of the data protection act 1998 states:-

1. Justify the purpose(s)
Every single proposed use or transfer of patient identifiable information within or from an organisation should be clearly defined and scrutinised, with continuing uses regularly reviewed, by an appropriate guardian.

2. Don’t use patient identifiable information unless it is necessary Patient identifiable information items should not be included unless it is essential for the specified purpose(s) of that flow. The need for patients to be identified should be considered at each stage of satisfying the purpose(s).

3. Use the minimum necessary patient-identifiable information Where use of patient identifiable information is considered to be essential, the inclusion of each individual item of information should be considered and justified so that the minimum amount of identifiable information is transferred or accessible as is necessary for a given function to be carried out.

4. Access to patient identifiable information should be on a strict need-to-know basis Only those individuals who need access to patient identifiable information should have access to it, and they should only have access to the information items that they need to see. This may mean introducing access controls or splitting information flows where one information flow is used for several purposes.

5. Everyone with access to patient identifiable information should be aware of their responsibilities Action should be taken to ensure that those handling patient identifiable information – both clinical and non-clinical staff – are made fully aware of their responsibilities and obligations to respect patient confidentiality.

6. Understand and comply with the law
Every use of patient identifiable information must be lawful. Someone in each organisation handling patient information should be responsible for ensuring that the organisation complies with legal requirements.

7. The duty to share information can be as important as the duty to protect patient confidentiality Professionals should in the patient’s interest only, share information within their respective fields. Again information sharing when not in the patient’s best interests should be appropriate, relevant and kept to a minimum and strictly within guidelines as mentioned above. For
example communicable diseases.

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