|Title:||Management of Patient Health Records in an Emergency.|
|Document ID:||Operational Directive OD 0560/14|
|Date of issue:||Thursday, 18 September 2014|
|Description:||This Operational Directive (OD) aims to standardise a process for managing and transferring patient health records between health care facilities in an emergency.|
|Applicable to:||Health Information Managers, Clinical Staff, Emergency Management Staff|
|Framework:||Public Health Policy Framework|
|Period of effect:||from 1 June 2014 to 1 June 2019|
|Review date:||1 June 2019|
|Authorised by:||Professor Bryant Stokes, A/Director General, Department of Health WA, 20-Jun-2014|
|Print version:||View print version|
Management of Patient Health Records in an Emergency.
In an emergency, there may be a requirement to evacuate or decant patients from one health care facility to another at short notice. Originating and receiving health care facilities may have differing processes for transferring patient health records which can lead to confusion and critical time delays in an emergency.
An evacuation or decant of a health care facility may be conducted in response to two particular types of emergencies:
This Operational Directive (OD) aims to standardise a process for managing and transferring patient health records between health care facilities in an emergency.
This OD covers the management of paper-based patient health records. Electronic patient health records are out of scope.
Where a staged evacuation or decant is required, Health Information Managers, clerical staff or other authorised delegates are to arrange for the current patient health records to be packaged appropriately and transferred with the patient. Where time permits, the steps should include:
Where there is a requirement to immediately evacuate a health care facility, the safety and wellbeing of staff, patients and visitors shall take priority over all other issues.
In a rapid evacuation, Health Information Managers, clerical staff or authorised delegates should consider evacuating the current patient health record with each corresponding patient, or collectively, en masse, here it is safe to do so.
If a patient is evacuated from the hospital with their current patient health records, they should be kept with the patient until they arrive at the receiving health care facility. Ideally records should be packaged to ensure patient confidentiality, where safety and time permits.
The authority to evacuate the patient health records with the patient rests with the State Health Coordinator. The State Health Coordinator is to be informed of any emergency that results in the evacuation or decanting of patients. Where an immediate evacuation is underway, retrospective authorisation must be obtained. The State Health Coordinator can be contacted via the On Call Duty Officer on (08) 9328 0553.
Responsibility of receiving public health care facilities
Receiving health care facilities may experience a surge in activity associated with the evacuation or decant. Once the emergency has abated, it is the responsibility of the receiving health care facility to return the patient health records to the originating facility. This should be done in consultation between Health Information Managers, clerical staff or other authorised delegates and in consideration of any extenuating circumstances of the emergency.
Where patients and their health records are transferred to private hospitals, it is the responsibility of the originating hospital to liaise with, and organise for, the recovery of the patient health records.
Professor Bryant Stokes
This circular last updated: Thursday, 18 September 2014 at 12:09pm