Top tips for keeping your electronic health and social care records safe

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As more patients gain access to their electronic health and social care records, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, today hosts a new video explaining the importance of electronic records and providing some top tips to keep records safe.

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Having access to your health and social care records electronically is a major step in helping you to be involved in your own health care. However, you need to understand how you can use them and how to keep them safe.

The video supplements a new leaflet ‘Keeping your online health and social care records safe and secure’, published earlier this month by the Institute and the Department for Health (DH).

Dr Justin Whatling, Chair of BCS Health, who appears in the video says: “Having access to your health and social care records in this way is a major step in helping you to be involved in your own health care. However, you need to understand how you can use them and, very importantly, how to keep them safe in the same way that you keep your bank details private and secure.”

In the video, Justin outlines the top tips put forward in the new leaflet:

  •     Set a strong password and keep it safe
  •     Be aware of your surroundings when accessing your records, especially if accessing them on mobile or public devices
  •      Consider carefully who you share your care records with and if you are in any doubt, don’t share at all

The guidance explains what health records are, the benefits of having access to them, how to protect them, and how to share them should individuals wish to. There is also advice on protecting computers, mobile devices and how to access records using a public computer.

Aimed at people who are accessing their own records and who may want to share them with others, the guidance doesn’t include specific advice for people who may be using records on behalf of someone else who can’t do it themselves (for example, children or someone who needs support to make decisions.)

Dr Justin Whatling concludes: “We’re really encouraging people to embrace information technology which is transforming our everyday life, including our healthcare. Keeping your medical records safe is the same as keeping all our other personal information secure whether online or not. Our new advice will prove invaluable to patients, especially those who are new to using technology to access their information. It has been developed and tested with patients, patient support groups and other interested organisations.”

The guidance can be accessed for free via:
http://www.bcs.org/saferecordkeeping and http://www.nhs.uk/healthrecords
Watch the video featuring Dr Justin Whatling: http://www.bcs.org/content/conWebDoc/50189

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Lynda Feeley
BCS - Chartered Institute for IT
01793 417711
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