TL;DR: Doctor-lawmaker found alleged document from the local healthcare statutory body, which requested A&E doctors to record clinically irrelevant data. This later came in conflict with a press release regarding patient privacy.
Hi again. 2nd post in a day, sorry if it seems excessive.
This write-up is on some piping hot controversy within medical circles in Hong Kong. I'm presenting the material in the form of a timeline. But before that, allow me to provide some background info:
- Hospital Authority, or HA, is a statutory body supervising all public healthcare services in Hong Kong, including 11 public hospitals.
- The Accident & Emergency Department Clinical Information System, or AEIS, is a computerised patient information log system used at A&E departments.
- There are police posts in public hospitals, but not private hospitals.
- The Hon. Dr. Pierre Chan is one of roughly 70 members of the Legislative Council (LegCo), belonging to the "Medical" functional constituency.
Disclaimer: Part of the following information is translated from the blog of Dr. Chan. You may find the relevant post
here, in Chinese.
Alright, the main deal
Timeline – 2019 June
- 9th, 1430: A demonstration against a bill amending current extradition laws
- 9th, 2300: Government's statement – bill would be put to LegCo on 12th as usual
- 11th night: Anti-amendment protestors occupy streets
- 12th, 0900~1000: HA enacts Mass Incident Control Centre (MICC),
requesting A&E doctors to record incidents related to street occupation on the AEIS as follows:
Incident nature: Mass gathering
Descripton: Mass gathering at Legco
- 12th, 1500: First wave of physical conflict between protestors and police
- Police classified clashes as "riot"
- Bill meeting at LegCo postponed
- 12th evening: 4 men arrested on suspicion of "rioting" at a public hospital (Queen Elizabeth H.) after telling staff of their previous whereabouts
- 3 were seeking treatment
- 13th, 1630: Police press conference confirms arrests of citizens seeking and under treatment at a public hospital, under the justification by "evidence and reasonable suspicion"
- 14th: HA press release. Stances:
- Patient safety: "Patient safety during the course of patient management <...> should not be compromised by any non-clinical activities."
- Patient confidentiality: "All patient information are<sic> collected on clinical need basis, while observing the need-to-know principles in information access"
- 14th evening: Blog post by Dr. Chan doubting the HA's press release.
Why is Dr. Chan bothered by HA's press release?
The arrests made at a public hospital were "non-clinical activities" which interfered with the normal procedures of patient management.
MICC requested A&E doctors to include the protest in AEIS records of relevant patients, which is not on a "clinical need basis".
The inactivity of HA over the hospital arrests failed to respond to concerns of medical professionals and citizens over patient confidentiality, deterring citizens from seeking treatment at public hospitals and compromising patient-healthcare relations.
- Furthermore, Dr. Chan called for a public explanation from HA, not just a press release.
So, why should I care?
Well, as long as you're not working in public hospitals in HK, maybe nah. I mean, it's not meaningful to ask you about the rights of the police force in hospitals in your jurisdiction – they're probably largely the same around the world.
If you plan to, or are already working at one, this post might be relevant to you.
I have a gut feeling that many doctors ignored the request by MICC on 12/6, but there would probably be more enactments of MICC in the near future. I still cannot make sense of what the HA has in mind, and I agree with Dr. Chan that the HA owes the public and the public healthcare sector a formal explanation, lest conspiracy theories surrounding the police and HA get out of hand.
Source: Original link