Keys Medical recognises the practice team requires access to email and the internet to assist in the efficient and safe delivery of healthcare services to our patients. Keys Medical supports the right of staff to have access to reasonable personal use of the internet and email communications in the workplace using the devices and networks provided by the practice.
Purpose and objectives
This policy sets out guidelines for acceptable use of internet and email by the practice team, contractors and other staff of Keys Medical. Internet and email is provided primarily to assist the team carry out their duties of employment.
This internet and email policy applies to the practice team, contractors and other staff of Keys Medical who access the internet and email on practice owned devices, including, but not limited to all desktop computers available to perform their work.
Use of the internet by the practice team, contractors and other staff is permitted and encouraged where this supports the goals and objectives of Keys Medical.Access to the internet is a privilege and the practice team, contractors and other staff must adhere to this policy.
Violation of these policies could result in one or more of the following:
- disciplinary and/or legal action
- termination of employment
- the practice team, contractors and other staff being held personally liable for damages caused by any violations of this policy
Email communication with patients is permitted if written consent is obtained. Risks and conditions of email use are explained to all parties involved in this form communication and are outlined below.
All employees are required to confirm they have understood and agree to abide by this email and internet policy by responding to the email that was sent with this policy attached.
The practice team, contractors and other staff may use the internet and email access provided by Keys Medical for:
- Any work and work-related purposes
- Limited personal use
- More extended personal use under specific circumstances as outlined below.
Limited personal use of email and internet
Limited personal use is permitted where it:
- infrequent and brief use
- does not interfere with the duties of the practice team, contractors and other staff
- does not interfere with the operation of the practice
- does not compromise the security of the practice
- does not impact on your general practice electronic storage capacity
- does not decrease your general practice network performance (eg large email attachments can decrease system performance and potentially cause system outages)
- does not incur any additional expense for the practice
- does not violate any legislation
- does not compromise any confidentiality requirements of the practice
Examples of what could be considered reasonable personal use:
- conducting a brief online bank transaction
- paying a bill
- sending a brief personal email, similar to making a brief personal phone call
Unacceptable internet and email use
The practice team, contractors and other staff may not use internet or email access provided by Keys Medical to:
- creating or exchanging messages that are offensive,harassing,obscene or threatening
- visiting web sites containing objectionable (including pornographic) or criminal material
- exchanging any confidential or sensitive information held by the practice
- creating, storing or exchanging information in violation of copy right laws
- using internet-enabled activities such as gambling, gaming, conducting a business or conducting illegal activities
- creating or exchanging advertisements, solicitations, chain letters and other unsolicited or bulk email
- playing electronic or online games in work time.
Email communication has a number of risks and it is important that all staff understand these risks which include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Keys Medical cannot guarantee that all emails will be read or responded to due to software internal filtration.
- Emails maybe circulated, forwarded and stored in files for the purposes of maintaining care which increases risk of possible security breaches.
- Backup copies of emails and their contents may still exist even after the recipient has deleted their copy.
- Senders can misaddress emails.
- Emails are not secured beyond a TLS (Transport Layer Security) and therefore maybe intercepted, duplicated and altered or used without authorisation or detection as emails are not end-to-end encrypted.
- Workplace email services and other online services may have the right to archive and inspect emails transmitted through their systems.
Conditions of Use
Keys Medical will not engage in email communication until written consent is obtained from the patient. In cases where the email address on the patient’s registration form does not match the one in which they wish to use for correspondence the staff will ask for a picture to be sent with the patient’s photo ID held from the new email address in order for the clinic to verify their identity.
Keys Medical uses reasonable means to protect the security and confidentiality of email information sent and received. However, given the risks outlined above, Keys Medical will not be liable for the inadvertent disclosure of confidential information.
Email is not appropriate for urgent or emergency situations, nor a substitute for care that may be provided in person or via telehealth consultation. No consultations will ever be conducted via email.
The onus to maintain a current email address remains with the patient, however staff are encouraged to regularly ask if all contact details are update for patients.
When the clinic receives an email from a patient, staff members will respond within 3 business days. Staff are permitted to make bookings and or alter appointments via email. Once consent has been obtained and treating Doctors have given approval; staff are permitted to send referrals to patients and other healthcare providers via email.
Policy review statement
This policy will be reviewed regularly to ensure it reflects the current processes and procedures of Keys Medical and current legislation requirements.