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Doctors should protect our privacy

October 23, 2013

Dear Sir,

I have a grievance to lodge with physicians in Bermuda that use patient sign-up sheets. It seems like an innocuous thing — having to sign in when you go to the doctor. Everyone has to go at one point or another, right?

But, isn't it my choice whether or not I want others to know that I have been to the doctor 3 hours before they did? And the impact of others knowing may not be as harmless as our physicians appear to believe.

I went to my OB/GYN for a visit; where they have the dreaded sign-in sheet! Next thing I know rumours abounded, that I was pregnant (I wasn't). Someone may have seen me walk in; someone may have seen the sign-in sheet. Either way, the doctor can't assure me that they did everything they could to ensure privacy. After all they made me sign-in (for posterity) and then left it out for everyone to see.

That's bad enough, but I feel awful for the men on vasectomy day at the urologists' offices!

Even worse are those forms that ask you to write the reason for the visit. FYI docs I will never put the real reason that I/my child is visiting on some form for all who come after me to read. Do I really want folks (whoever they are) to know that I have a “rash”?

I know that we don't have HIPAA laws that mandate basic levels of privacy in Bermuda, but it seems so common sense to me. I understand the arguments for sign-in sheets: 1. documentation = protection of the doctor; 2. low cost; 3. simplicity 4. administrative ease.

All of the above can be achieved with basic and courteous privacy for patients mixed in. Please, please, please check out sign-in sheets that have: peel off stickers, or carbonless duplication all of which allow for the same process but with an element of privacy for your patients/clients/revenue generators. Or consider individual sign-in sheets — Dr. Daly's office appears to do this with great success and minimal administrative burden.


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Published October 25, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 24, 2013 at 7:10 pm)

Doctors should protect our privacy

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