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The following is an excerpt from Essentials for Home Care, the most recent annual newsletter on mandatory competencies from the Visiting Nurses Association of Eastern Pennsylvania:
"By the virtue of their position, employees who work for the VNA have access to the computer system and to the confidential information contained within its databases. Any unauthorized access of the computer and its databases and/or distribution of information from the databases is in appropriate, harmful to the VNA and cannot be tolerated.
"It is important that all employees understand the agency’s expectations with regard to this issue. Accordingly, the computer usage policy has been instituted. Take time to review the computer usage policy in its entirety. Listed are some of the highlights:
"Employees agree to maintain the security of the computer security login code and assignment password.
"Employees will not access information that is not directly related to their functions.
"Only employees assigned as system administrators have authorization to access employee maintenance screens and are able to update or change functions assigned to an employee.
"Patient confidentiality must be maintained while using the laptop in the home environment.
"An employee will be discharged if he/she:
"Accesses, alters or destroys any computer, computer system, computer software, computer program, or database with the intent to interrupt the normal functioning of the agency or to implement any scheme to defraud or control the agency’s property or services
"Without authorization, gives or publishes passwords, identifying code or any other confidential information about the computer, computer system or the database.
"At no time should another software product be loaded onto the computer."
• Debra Phillips, RN, MSN, Director of Educational Services, St. Luke’s Hospital, 801 Ostrum St., Bethlehem, PA 18015. Phone: (610) 954-3031.
• Linda Mitman, RN, BSN, Performance Improvement Manager, Visiting Nurses Association of Eastern Pennsylvania, 1510 Valley Center Parkway, Suite 200, Bethlehem, PA 18017. Phone: (610) 691-1100.