Preventing a breach – and a tragedy – by a simple technique

The Australian radio station hoax that managed to obtain and publish medical details of Kate Middleton has fueled a lot of public commentary.  At so many points, the breach – and what appears to be the suicide of the nurse who put the call through – might have been avoided.  I feel sorry for everyone involved but wonder why there hasn’t been more discussion of the hospital’s security and privacy failure.

My mother was hospitalized about half a dozen times in her last six months of life.  During one of those hospitalizations – while in an ICU – the nurses informed us that we needed to come up with a passphrase that only family and authorized individuals would know.  Anyone who called to inquire about our mother’s health or status would have to know the passphrase or password to be given information.

How simple that was.  I created the passphrase and let my brother and our spouses know it.

Why didn’t King Edward VII Hospital have that kind of simple patient privacy protection in place? Why don’t more hospitals?



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