Clearing the clutter – how to manage personal information on paper

This week we are going to look at how you secure PI on paper and in files.


The POPIA says that we must keep PI secure. This means that you must make sure that the PI does not fall into the wrong hands or that you do not accidentally delete or lose PI.

Review the processes in your practice where you use paper. Can you identify any security risks (for example, where the wrong people can read the confidential information on a file)? Use your GAPs sheet to review these.

Here are a few security improvements you can easily make:

1. Shred it
If you don’t have a shredder, buy one, or retain a shredding service (they will provide you with a locked bin for papers that they will fetch when it’s full and shred the papers for you). It should be a hard rule in your practice that all paper containing any patient PI should get shredded when you’re done with it.

2. Lock it
Lock your filing cabinets, drawers, and offices when not actively in use. Even when you go to the bathroom.

3. Restrict access
Don’t let just anybody into your administrative area. Make sure that only those who really need access to files or accounts, have it. Don’t allow any outsiders ‘behind the counter’.

4. Clean desk reception
Keep your appointment book, patient files, and accounts out of the public eye. Rather keep your appointment book electronically. Dedicate a private area for patients to fill in forms or update their details – don’t do this in the waiting room where everyone can hear and see.

5. Keep it confidential
Don’t discuss test results or patient details in person or on the phone in an area (like reception) where others can overhear.

Remember, your patients trust you with their sensitive, confidential PI. If you lose their trust, you lose them.


Need to motivate your staff to shred paper records when you no longer need them?
Shreddy Kruger can be quite convincing.

Remember that you have a free one-hour consultation included with this programme!
Use it, and contact us if you have any questions about this week’s topic.