Confidentiality fears force patient survey change

Confidentiality fears raised by the DoH’s own advisors have forced changes to the way the 2008 patient survey will be implemented.

The DoH’s Patient Information Advisory Group (PIAG) opposed plans to use Apollo Medical System software to extract patient details.

The PIAG felt that the benefits to the public of conducting the survey did not outweigh the concerns over the use of confidential information.

It was unhappy about selection of patients based on recent appointment or referral.

The DoH explained: ‘The concern being potential risk to individuals receiving a survey letter linking to a recent appointment or referral.’

The DoH said that the 2008 survey would not breach patient confidentiality.

It said: ‘The NHAIS (Exeter) registration system selects patients at random from practices’ registered lists without reference to appointment or referral information so there are no such concerns over confidentiality and practices will hand out the choice questionnaire directly to relevant choice referral patients.’

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