Preserving the Patient Confidentiality is one of the core duties of medical practice. It requires healthcare professionals, doctors, Nurses to keep a patient’s personal health related information private unless consent to release the information is provided by the patient.
What is Patient Confidentiality?
Confidentiality is the right of an individual to have personal, identifiable medical information kept private. Such information should be available only to the physician of record and other health care and insurance personnel as necessary.
Patient confidentiality means that personal and medical information given to a health care provider will not be disclosed to others unless the individual has given specific permission for such release.
Why is confidentiality important?
During the Course of treatment and In-home healthcare, patients routinely share a lot of personal information with health care providers. It’s the responsibility of each and every In-Patient care staff to maintain the confidentiality of patient’s related information. If the confidentiality of this information were not protected, trust in the physician-patient relationship would be weakened. Patients would be less likely to share sensitive information, which could negatively impact their care.
- Patient Confidentiality is central to the preservation of trust between doctors and their patients.
- Patient confidentiality is not absolute in modern medicine. There are occasions when there is a need to breach this idealism
- Genuine exceptions are disclosures with patient consent, when required by law and where there is a public interest.
- When breaching patient confidentiality and patient consent cannot be obtained, seek advice from senior colleagues or a medical defence union and document your reasons clearly.
Breaching patient confidentiality
Overriding concerns can lead to the need to breach confidentiality in certain circumstances. For example, Concern for the safety of other specific persons, Legal requirements to report certain conditions or circumstances. While all states specify exceptions to confidentiality, few have spelled out the necessary elements of valid consent for disclosure of mental health information. Some states presently allow disclosure of the following types of mental health information without patient consent:
- to other treatment providers
- to health care services payers or other sources of financial assistance to the patient
- to third parties that the mental health professional feels might be endangered by the patient
- to researchers
- to agencies charged with oversight of the health care system or the system’s practitioners
- to families under certain circumstances
- to law enforcement officials under certain circumstances
- to public health officials
Patient confidentiality is one of the most important stakes of In-Patient care. Protecting the private details of a patient is not just a matter of moral respect, it is essential in retaining the important bond of trust between the healthcare professionals and the individuals.