Addressing Client Concerns

Apr 18, 2018

Client alert: Unauthorised use of HPCSA’s name to sell patient recording device 

It has come to our attention that a sales representative is targeting our Clients, using the HPCSA’s name to sell a device and software package that purports to digitally record and store telephone calls and face-to-face consultations with patients.

Of concern is the claim, reported by several of our Clients that this solution is required by the HPCSA and will help indemnity providers from potential malpractice or regulatory litigation.

Let us be absolutely clear: The HPCSA neither requires nor endorses the use of this or any similar hardware/software.

Furthermore, we would like to stress that any formal communication to practitioners regarding legislative changes will be made public via the normal channels, being the recognised Industry authorities, associations and from the HPCSA directly to their Clients. At no time will legislative compliance be communicated via a sales representative.

Professional business standards have always been the cornerstone of mutually beneficial relationships between practitioners on the one hand and pharmaceutical and equipment supplier companies on the other. Unfortunately, recent times have seen an increase in the number of opportunists who have sought financial gain by preying on the vulnerability of clinicians who lack business and legal experience.

Seeking professional advice from recognised qualified and credible industry experts in making a business decision will not only save you time and money but will assist in clarifying the facts.

We would also like to take this opportunity to provide our Clients with the facts regarding maintaining adequate patient records as outlined in detail by the HPCSA IN BOOKLET # 14 (Included here below for ease of reference)

HEALTH PROFESSIONS COUNCIL OF SOUTH AFRICA GUIDELINES FOR GOOD PRACTICE IN THE HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONS GUIDELINES ON THE KEEPING OF PATIENT RECORDS BOOKLET 14 PRETORIA MAY 2008

12 RETENTION OF PATIENT RECORDS ON CD-ROM

12.1 Storage of clinical records on computer compact disc (CD-ROM) is permissible, provided that protective measures are in place:

12.1.1 Only CD-ROM technology that is designed to record a CD once only, so that old information cannot be overwritten, but new information can be added is used;

12.1.2 All clinical records stored on computer compact disc and copies thereof are to be encrypted and protected by a password in order to prevent unauthorised persons to have access to such information;

12.1.3 A copy of the CD-ROM to be used in the practitioner’s rooms will be in a read only format;

12.1.4 A back-up copy of the CD-ROM must be kept and stored in a physically different site in order that the two discs can be compared in the case of any suspicion of tampering;

12.1.5 Effective safeguards against unauthorised use or retransmission of confidential patient information must be assured before such information was entered on the computer disc. The right of patients to privacy, security and confidentiality must be protected at all times. 

13 CHECKLIST FOR HEALTH RECORD-KEEPING

Good notes imply good practice and the following checklist may serve to guide health care practitioners in the appropriate keeping of patient records:

13.1 Records should be complete, but concise.

13.2 Records should be consistent.

13.3 Self-serving or disapproving comments should be avoided in patient records. Unsolicited comments should be avoided (i.e. the facts should be described, and conclusions only essential for patient care made).

13.4 A standardised format should be used (e.g. notes should contain in order the history, physical findings, investigations, diagnosis, treatment and outcome.).

13.5 If the record needs alteration in the interests of patient care, a line in ink should be put through the original entry so that it remains legible; the alterations should be signed in full and dated; and, when possible, a new note should refer to the correction without altering the initial entry.

13.6 Copies of records should only be released after receiving proper authorisation.

13.7 Billing records should be kept separate from patient care records.

13.8 Attached documents such as diagrams, laboratory results, photographs, charts, etc. should always be labelled. Sheets of paper should not be identified simply by being bound or stapled together – each individual sheet should be labelled.

Enabling focus, creating clarity

BY ALISON MAYTHAM

BY ALISON MAYTHAM

“There are many different factors that determine the success of your practice – but, as a busy healthcare professional focusing on the needs of your patients, you may not always have the time to focus on the many demanding, and often complex, facets of managing your business. Vizibiliti provides you with easy access to insightful, comprehensive practice and business management solutions and advice across all stages of your business journey – from establishing, growing or closing your practice.”

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