I spotted a twitter exchange yesterday that caused me some concern.
A case was being discussed on Twitter that referred to identifying features. No names were mentioned and in that sense, at least, the clients were anonymous. However, the details being discussed, such as appointments, some figures and issues would have been enough for the clients concerned to identify themselves in a flash.
I cannot recall where I learnt this “Hey look, that’s me!” test for confidentiality. I do not know if it is enshrined in protocol or case law – perhaps a reader might care to tell us – but it makes perfect sense.
If a client can recognise themselves then that is perhaps the lowest cognitive bar we can set.
That is no reason to disregard that low bar, or dismiss it with an argument that “No-one else would know who it was.” After all, if the client complains to us or relevant supervising bodies, then that will be more than enough to land us in hot water.
This incident also highlighted another issue. We need to be diligent ourselves in testing confidentiality, but also in pointing out possible problems to one another.
By doing so we can self police effectively. The alternative is likely to be a blanket ban or some other hysterical over-reaction.
I hope that if I have such a lapse in future that someone would quickly send me a direct message discretely to point out a possible problem.
I also hope that I would receive it with the same good grace and politeness that my Twitter friend did.
In the words of High School Musical “We’re all in this together…”