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BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 08 June 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1382
  1. Harvey Marcovitch (, BMJ syndication editor

    Patients value privacy, but not just about their diagnosis

    Patients attending an emergency department valued their registration being undertaken confidentially. In a randomised controlled trial, patients were registered on arrival in the standard manner or with the use of screens set up such that there was a gap of at least 2.4 metres from any other patient.

    Control patients felt more strongly that they could be overheard, and they would have preferred confidential registration. Control patients minded considerably more than intervention patients that others heard—in order of importance—their name, address, birth date, reason for attendance and telephone number.

    Since the NHS regards patient dignity and privacy as a high priority, use of screens when registering should be considered; the authors think that their findings might be duplicated in outpatient clinics and …

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