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Standards for health services in Australian prisons

Glossary of terms

Access: The ability of prisoners to directly approach and obtain services from the health service

Active patient: A patient who is incarcerated in a prison

Active patient health record: The record of a patient who is incarcerated in a Prison

Administrative staff: Staff employed by the health service who provide clerical or administrative services and who do not perform any clinical tasks

Adverse event: An incident in which unintended harm results to a person receiving healthcare

Antivirus software: A software program that protects the computer or network from a virus program that can create copies of itself on the same computer and on others, and corrupt programs

Allied health professional: Health professionals who work alongside doctors and nurses to provide optimal healthcare for all Australians (eg. physiotherapists, dieticians, podiatrists)

Appointment system: The system a health service uses to assign consultations between patients and GPs or other staff members who provide clinical care

At risk prisoner: A prisoner who is considered to be at risk of self harm or at risk of assault from other prisoners or one who has a potentially harmful medical condition

CALD: People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

Care outside normal opening hours: Clinical care that is provided to patients of the health service at a time when the service is normally closed. Each health service will have different opening and closing hours

CD-ROM: A ‘compact disc – read only memory’ for storing electronic Information

Clinical management area: Areas in the health service where clinical care is Delivered

Clinical risk management system: A system or process the health service has put in place that is directed toward effective management of potential opportunities for error and adverse effects

Clinically significant: A judgment made by a health professional that something is clinically important for that particular patient in the context of that patient’s healthcare. The judgment may be that something is abnormal and therefore clinically important for that particular patient, or it could be something that is normal but is clinically important for that particular patient

Clinical team: The members of the health service team who have qualifications related to health and perform clinical functions

Community corrections centre: Any building, enclosure, place or class of places established to meet the statutory requirements for the supervision of people who are under a legal supervision, development, or work order

Complaint: An expression of dissatisfaction or concern with an aspect of the health service. Complaints may be expressed verbally or in writing and may be made through a formal complaints process, consumer surveys or focus groups

Confidentiality: The nondisclosure of information except to another authorised person, or the act of keeping information secure and/or private

Consumer Medicines Information: Written information produced by pharmaceutical companies to inform consumers about prescription and pharmacy-only medicines

Continuity of care: The degree to which a series of discrete healthcare events is experienced by the patient as coherent and connected and consistent with the patient’s medical needs and personal context. Three aspects of continuity have been defined in the literature:

  • • informational continuity is the flow of information across healthcare events/ consultations, particularly through documentation, handover and review of notes from previous consultations • management continuity is the consistency of care by the various people involved in a patient’s care • relational continuity is the sense of affiliation between the patient and their Doctor

Continuing professional development (CPD): Educational activities designed to lead to quality improvement in clinical care

Cultural background: Patients identified as being of a particular ethnic or cultural background or heritage

De-identified information: Information from which individual patients cannot be identified

Disability: Any type of impairment of body structure or function, activity limitation and/or restriction of participation in society

Discrimination: Providing differential treatment or consideration based on characteristics of the patient. Discrimination can be positive (providing differential treatment to enhance care to the patient) or negative (providing differential treatment to the detriment of the patient’s care, or neglecting to provide treatment)

Early detection and intervention: The detection of early stages of disease and prompt and effective intervention to prevent disease progression

Electronic communication: The transfer of information (not necessarily patient health information) within or outside the health service through email, internet communications, SMS or facsimiles

Encryption: The process of converting plain text characters into cipher text (ie. meaningless data) as a means of protecting the contents of the data and guaranteeing its authenticity

Error: A generic term to encompass all occasions in which a planned sequence of mental or physical activities fails to achieve its intended outcome, and when these failures cannot be attributed to the intervention of some chance agency

Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP): Fellowship of the RACGP is granted to GPs who have demonstrated that they have reached the standard required for unsupervised general practice in Australia

Firewall: In information technology, a gateway or barrier between a private network and an outside or unsecured network (ie. the internet) to provide added security. A firewall can be used to filter the flow of data through the gateway according to specific rules

Full back up: A copy of all files that reside on a computer or server hard drive. The files are marked as having been ‘backed up’

General practice: General practice is the provision of patient centred, continuing, comprehensive, coordinated primary care to individuals, families and communities

General practitioner (GP): A registered medical practitioner who is qualified and competent for general practice anywhere in Australia; has the skills and experience to provide patient centred, continuing comprehensive, coordinated primary care to individuals, families and communities; and maintains professional competence for general practice

Hardware: The physical components of a computer such as a monitor, hard drive or central processing unit

Health promotion: Preventive health activities that reduce the likelihood of disease occurring

Human research ethics committee: A committee that reviews applications from people or investigators/institutions undertaking research projects involving human subjects. The committee needs to be constituted according to National Health and Medical Research Council requirements

Human resources: Relating to the field of personnel recruitment, training and Management

Identifiable information: Patient health information from which a patient can be identified

Inactive patient health record: The record of a patient who is no longer incarcerated in the prison

Induction program: A form of training provided to new staff members or GPs to introduce them to the health service’s systems, processes and structures

Information disaster recovery plan: A documented plan of the actions the health service needs to take to retain and restore patient health information in the event of a ‘disaster’ (normally a power failure or other such event)

Information sheet: A photocopied, typed or electronically generated information sheet that includes essential information for patients about services and methods of access to those services

Informed consent: Consent by a patient (either written or verbal) to a proposed investigation, treatment or invitation to participate in research after achieving an understanding of the relevant purpose, importance, benefits, and associated risks. For consent to be valid, a number of factors need to be satisfied, including the patient receiving sufficient and appropriate information and being made aware of the material risks. The patient must have the mental and legal competence to give consent

Interpreter service: A service that provides trained language translation either face-to-face or by telephone

Medical deputising services: Services that arrange for or facilitate the provision of medical services to patients of GPs (principals) by other medical practitioners (deputising doctors) during the absence of, and at the request of, the GPs

Medical staff: Staff who have Australian medical registration

Mistake: an error or adverse event that results in harm

Must: Used where there is strong documentary evidence of a risk of harm to patients if the direction is not followed

Near miss: An incident that did not cause harm but could have

Need: Where these Standards use the phrase ‘a health service needs...’, the RACGP’s position is that what ‘needs’ to be done in any situation is determined by what is reasonable in all the circumstances. In interpreting the Standards, care must be taken to be sensitive to the often highly variable circumstances of any particular situation

Network: A collection of connected computers and peripheral devices used for information sharing and electronic communication

Normal opening hours: The advertised opening hours of the health service

Outcomes indicators: Indicators that relate to the effects of care on patients and communities

Outside normal opening hours: The hours not covered by normal opening Hours

Patient: A person receiving healthcare. In relevant circumstances, the term is also intended to include a carer

Patient health information: A patient’s health information includes their name, address, account details and Medicare number and any health information (including opinion) about the person

Patient health record: Information held about a patient in hard or soft form, which may include contact and demographic information, medical history, notes on treatment, observations, correspondence, investigations, test results, photographs, prescription records, medication charts, insurance information and legal and occupational health and safety reports

Physical facilities: The building and equipment used to provide clinical care to Patients

Policy and procedures manual: A resource document containing written information about the health service’s policies and procedures

Position description: A document describing an employee’s role, responsibilities and conditions of employment

Prison: Any building, enclosure or place legally declared to be a prison for the lawful custody of people committed by lawful authority

Prisoner: A person sentenced by the court to a term of imprisonment, or ordered by the court to be detained in a prison. This includes a person placed in the custody of the administering department in accordance with a lawful order for the purpose of undergoing special treatment while under restrictive custody

Privacy of health information: The protection of personal and health information to prevent unauthorised access, use and dissemination

Process indicators: Indicators that relate to what is done in giving and receiving care

Public key infrastructure (PKI): PKI is a secure method of transmitting information electronically to provide authentication and confidentiality; PKI is used to transfer information between GPs and other healthcare providers

Remand prisoner: Any person charged with a criminal offence who has been ordered by the court to be detained in custody while awaiting trial or sentencing

Referral: Directing a patient to another practitioner

Relevant family history: Information about the patient’s family history that the GP considers to be important for the purposes of providing clinical care to the Patient

Relevant social history: Information about the patient’s social history (including employment, accommodation, family structure) that the GP considers important for the purposes of providing clinical care to the patient

Risk management: The culture, processes and structures that are directed toward effective management of potential opportunities for adverse events

Safe and reasonable: A decision that each health service needs to make in light of factors that affect their service (eg. location, patient population) in providing clinical care. What is deemed safe and reasonable needs to be considered in light of what peers (or similar health services) would agree was safe and reasonable

Safety: The degree to which potential risk and unintended results are avoided or minimised

Screensavers: A software program that displays constantly changing images or dims the brightness of a display screen to protect the screen from having an image etched onto its surface or being read

Server: Typically a computer in a network that provides services to users connected to the network (or ‘clients’), such as printing, accessing files and running software applications. A server can be used as a central data repository for users of the network

Should: Indicates best practice by primary care experts and is a Recommendation

Software: A program (or group of programs) which perform specific functions such as word processing or spreadsheets

Staff: All staff working within the health service

Staff involved in clinical care: Staff employed by the health service who perform any clinical tasks with patients

Structure indicators: Indicators that relate to material resources, facilities, equipment and the range of services provided at the health service

System: An organised and coordinated method or procedure

Team: Staff members who as a group provide care within the health service (eg. doctors, receptionists, managers, psychologists or other mental health experts, nurses, allied health professionals)

Timely: A length of time which might reasonably be expected by professional peers for a defined situation

Urgent: A health need that requires immediate action or attention

Visits to patient living quarters: A consultation conducted in the patient’s living quarters within the prison

Vocationally recognised general practitioner: A GP on the RACGP Fellows list or the Vocational Register (grandparented) with Medicare, or a GP on the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine Fellows List with Medicare

Standardsprisons cover