Is a medical record a form of surveillance?

Freedom, Not Fear is a day to raise awareness about surveillance issues. It is exactly one month from today on Oct 11. Is this something for nurses to concern themselves with? Well, I think a "surveillance society" really is an anti-humanistic situation that all people should oppose. But on International Freedom from Surveillance Day what should nurses draw attention to? Well, there are issues of security/privacy surrounding medical records and such.

The formation of medical records aren't strictly surveillance activities, but I do think that in the context of a government and society where surveillance is almost ubiquitous and data can be easily stolen or otherwise unprotected, any collection of information about a person is tantamount to surveillance via data fusion. Although the typical nursing response to this situation would be to educate and reassure the patient while trying to avoid non-compliance, and the typical nursing management response would be to "improve the system," I think nurses need to re-consider whether their basic premises are correct about data collection. I don't have a lot of experience yet in a clinical setting, but while I have seen nurses speculate about patients based on their nursing datasets, I have never seen a case where the admission data set is the key to a patient's care.

Anyhow, add International Freedom from Surveillance Day to your GoogleCalendar or whatever, and think about data fusion, privacy, and nursing assessments between now and then...

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