Disclosure of personal information – must a nurse be reminded to be mindful?
With the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (POPI) coming into force on 1 July 2021, the importance of the protection of the personal information of patients and clients must be emphasised. The Code of Ethics for Nursing Practitioners in South Africa states in paragraph 4 that nurses value “confidentiality and privacy of personal information and belongings of healthcare users” (South African Nursing Council Code of Ethics). Professional practice is but one of the topics where the fundamental right of a patient to expect that personal (confidential) information will not be revealed. The POPI Act is reinforcing the principles well-known to nurses and healthcare workers, as well as getting the healthcare industry to assess the flow of patient and stakeholders’ information. The relevance of personal information collected must be revisited to prevent the collecting and storing of unnecessary information that can result in a breach of confidentiality and privacy.