Designed to meet the requirements of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, on 27 March 2020 the State Archivist released a guideline on creating and retaining records for the proactive protection of Vulnerable Persons (Queensland Government 2021). The guideline outlined the obligation for all public authorities to apply an extended retention period for any record with documentation related to an abuse allegation, incident, or investigation. Highlighting the need to understand how and when survivors of abuse disclose pertinent information to health services, it also presents challenges to facilities that operate across multiple medical record platforms including paper, hybrid and digital. To fully understand the requirements for this project, a health information management undergraduate was assigned to Mater Health Services in Queensland for four months to analyse the guideline needs, determine how guideline compliance could be achieved and feedback the associated recommendations for remedial action.
It was the autumn of 2020 when the first seeds of placement excitement were planted. This was gently nurtured and cultivated until it was all consuming. As a student on placement, you get caught up in the hype that you, yourself, have been building for six months prior to placement commencing. You get caught up in the need to deliver the project that you have devised successfully and to deliver it on time. You try to prepare for all eventualities: an ongoing pandemic, staff sick days, missing documentation, and acts of God to name just a few. Despite all this pre-emptive planning, there is one thing you don’t think of – you don’t pre-empt the possibility that your project will be deemed not viable.
In July 2021, eHealth Queensland conducted a project to update the Queensland Health Standard and Guideline for managing the clinical records of children available for adoption. In partnership with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), an updated draft of the standard and guideline were constructed by a Bachelor of Health Information Management student.