Patient Confidentiality Essay

901 Words4 Pages
Patient Confidentiality: When Should It Be Compromised? Patient confidentiality is a person’s right to have their personal information kept private. Any medical data gathered from a patient should not be disclosed to anybody else without the patient’s permission. Confidentiality is a crucial part of the doctor-patient relationship. It is very important that a patient trust their doctor. The origin of privacy between doctor and patient dates back to the Hippocratic Oath, which was written about two thousand years ago. H.I.P.P.A. (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) passed regulations in 1996 to further protect privacy due to the possibility of breach by insurance companies. There are several important reasons why patient confidentiality should be respected. First, breaching a patient’s confidentiality destroys trust, which is an important aspect in physician-patient relationships. Second, if this trust is breached, patients may have a difficult time trusting doctors and disclosing pertinent information in the future. Lastly, betraying a patient’s trust this way is in direct opposition to that individual’s right for autonomy. There are many instances on a daily basis where patients’ medical data must be disclosed. Some examples of this are for payment reasons for insurance companies, for health-related services or benefits, for research purposes, for fundraising activities, for treatment alternatives, or when the law requires it. These are all pretty clear, unavoidable reasons for patient disclosure and are generally uncontroversial. There are, however, other times when situations arise where it is not as clear how to handle the issue of confidentiality. One example of this is if disclosing would be in the greater public interest, such as if details of a serious crime (or intended crime) were
Open Document