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Short of advanced robotics and artifical intelligence, there is currently no IT mechanism available to smartly/automatically anonymise your documents for you.  (Sorry)

This guide aims to offer you options in anonymising sensitive data.

Remember - when uploading supporting information to your appraisal, you should never include patient identifiable information.

Option 1 - Don't upload

If the document in question will provide enough unique context even after anonymising, speak to the Appraiser in the first instance.  If agreeable, rather than upload the relevant information - bring it with you on the day, and:

  • summarise (and generalise) in your own words:
    • the situation
    • your actions
    • the outcome, and
    • your learning points

Consider using one of the reflective templates to aid your reflection.

The Appraiser can log on the Form 4 what supporting information was reviewed if brought to appraisal on the day.  Obviously we'd expect other documents to be provided ahead of time to allow the Appraiser time to prepare, such as Audit Reports, MSF, Patient Surveys etc.

Option 2 - Anonymise paper documents

If the supporting information is in paper format (e.g. letter from patient, hospital etc) and would have required scanning anyway:

  • photocopy the document
  • black-marker out the sensitive details (e.g. names, reference numbers, address etc)
  • double-check (!)
  • scan and upload

Option 3 - Anonymise electronic documents

Depending on the document type and the electronic software you use, this could get quite tricky.  The reason for this is because some software will give you the option to black-out certain text on a scanned document, and whilst it looks all fine on screen, the blacked-out marks is NOT included when you export the file for uploading to SOAR.

Always double-check the exported files BEFORE uploading.

If you were to run into trouble exporting "anonymised" documents, consider the below options:

Export file to .jpg

.jpg is an image file - think of it as electronic photocopying...

  • Export to .jpg
  • Open the exported .jpg in a drawing app (Microsoft includes a free "Paint" program that you can use to draw mark marks on the picture)
  • Using thick black brush within your drawing app of choice, black out the necessary
  • Export the blacked-out image in your drawing app
  • Open the exported image to make sure it has been anonymised correctly
  • Upload to SOAR

Export file to MS Word

If for whatever reason you are unable to export the file as an image, try copy/paste the text into a Word document, and replace the relevant details with XXXXXXXX.

If you are unsure about the best way to anonymise your supporting information, please refer to option 1 above but make sure you liaise with your Appraiser in the first instance to get agreement.

This page was last updated on: 11/05/2021