How technology can help carers access client data securely
As a regulated service, ensuring that care data security is paramount to maintaining client safety, confidentiality and trust.
Home care providers process a huge amount of private, personal information. From client details to medical history to private addresses and key safe codes – carers are privy to lots of sensitive data.
And while carers need to be aware and responsible for looking after the data they carry, care businesses need to provide them with the right tools to help them be as safe and secure as possible.
Once again, care management technology can offer the solution.
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How care management software can improve data security
Once upon a time home care businesses were entirely paper-based. From visit logs and care, plans left in a binder in a client’s home to key safe codes written in diaries or on the backs of hands, important data was often left unsecured and exposed.
Care management technology improves data security in numerous ways. Most importantly, it utilises the security barriers we have come to expect from modern technology such as authentication, authorisation, encryption, logging, and regular security testing.
Not only does this layer of advanced digital security protect clients and their data, registered managers and carers, but it also ensures that care organisations meet the regulatory framework designated by the Care Quality Commission.
Access to information is controlled and protected
Like any modern application, data available in the carer app is protected by a unique user name ID, password system and 2-factor carer authentication – ensuring that only those permitted to access the app can log in.
The application of permissions can further extend this. The care management software allows setting permissions for different job roles, which restricts what employees can view and do in the mobile app. Permissions also protect data according to experience or seniority e.g. probationary staff who do not have appropriate medication training may be restricted from viewing medication details within a client’s record.
Client records are often an amalgamation of various sources of data. It may include personal details and preferences, photographs, copies of important documents, memory records, family information, and medical history. Additionally, it will contain reports and documents created by the care organisation, such as care plans and risk assessments.
Often these important documents are revised regularly – so carers must have access to the most up-to-date information. This is where version history can help ensure carers are always looking at the newest document.
In addition, the system automatically tracks when a document is viewed or opened, creating an auditable trail of evidence if required.
Digital forms, which are interactive forms the carer can use to record incidents or task completion during a visit can also configure to help manage data privacy. It is possible to control which forms are published and shared – e.g. forms can have statuses of view only, editable or create a new version – which can help protect forms from being overwritten or delta by mistake.
Finally, all data within the mobile app is stored in the app and not in the phone’s regular storage. For example, any photos taken (e.g. of injuries) are not visible on the phone’s camera roll. This feature ensures that carers cannot access confidential information outside of a visit.
Security features in the carer mobile app
|Session Expiry||After a pre-determined period of inactivity, the mobile app automatically logs the user out. They have to log back into the app again before proceeding.|
|2FA||The mobile app sends a text message (2-factor authentication) with an access code to verify a user’s identity when first logging-in to the mobile app|
|New user||The mobile app requires a PIN (unique to the user – provided by the care office), freephone number (unique to the care office) and mobile number (users)|
|App storage||Data is stored within the mobile app and can’t be accessed without logging in. E.g. any photos taken (e.g. of injuries) are not visible on the phone’s camera roll.|
The information shared is reasonable and balanced
Just like any aspect of life, care organisations need to strike the right balance between visibility and personal privacy.
While that app has a GPS function to ensure that carers are clocking into the right care visit in the right location, this only becomes active at the point of clocking in and out. It doesn’t track a carer all the time. This feature helps the care organisation verify a carer’s location without compromising personal privacy.
The care management software can also apply the same measured approach to data collection and visibility for each client. In this instance, the amount of previous notes and tasks history available for a carer to view is configurable – e.g. 1 week, 1 month. This means it is possible to strike the right balance between sharing critical information and protecting client confidentiality.