Privacy and confidentiality of patient and medical records
A person’s medical records contain private, personal, and intimate details of themselves. These details have been disclosed to specific health care professionals whom they have built a trust relationship it the hope to be helped. In a medical clinic, it has been observed that a patient’s medical records are able to be accessed by a number of staff. It has also been noted that in order to get to its destination the doctor’s room if is handled by over three people. An employee is asked to find the patient’s file, it is then handed to the receptionist who adds an entry and handed to another staff to deliver to the doctor’s room. Once the doctor has finished with the medical records, he passes it on to an employee who files it back to correct location. There is doubt that we question the ability of healthcare professionals to protect our personal information and as a result we are challenged to balance our right to privacy and confidentiality with rights to access in information (Gotes and Arons,2000). This report will discuss the importance of privacy and confidentiality, the proposed quality activity, with statistical analysis and a quality cycle.
The privacy and confidentiality of medical records is considered as part of the ethical consideration in the field of the medicine industry. There are state jurisdictions that would even prevent the use of medical records to court litigation proceeding if such disclosure would blacken the reputation of the patient.
The problem that will be discussed is the confidentiality of patient’s record as to the information divulge to an employee and employer relationship.
According to New York Department of Health (2008), the resident rights is have privacy and confidentiality of their personal and clinical records to reflect accommodations, medical treatment and other communications with other people of their choices. Hence, one of the rights of the patients is to prevent medical information to be known to people not of their choice. This right is sometimes taken for grated by medical institution especially if the people that would request about their medical information are employers.
This problem could lead a deviation to what is the standard of privacy, confidentiality is needed, and the amount of deviation from the ethic is necessary. As all act of humankind, the capacity of one’s person to perform will dwell on the fact that the nurses or any medical person can be dictates to what they perceived is right.
To illustrate further that said problem is problem, is by taking into consideration the feeling of the patients in letting their employers know their conditions. It could be inferred that they are patients who would want to keep matters to themselves. The dilemma on this will lie on the fact that patients would not want their employers know their conditions, hence if medical people will not inform his condition and if the worse will happen, the burden to inform the impending worsening condition is also imputed to medical people.
According to Dolan (2004), the duty to maintain confidentiality extends to a positive obligation to assert confidentiality in response to any request of information. In case of C vs., Dr. Cains (2003), a mother of a 12-year-old girl that her husband had had sexual intercourse with a child informed a general practitioner. The general practitioner was asked by the mother to keep the information confidential with the assurance that the act will not happen anymore. However, unknown to the general practitioner the abuse did recur and escalated. When the daughter reached adulthood, she sued the GP for negligence. Her claim resulted to failure because the incident happened in 1975. The court rationalized that doctor-patient confidentiality was given more weight during that year that today.
According to Dr. Travis of Australian Medical Association Victoria, a patient’s confidence in the confidentiality of their medical records is the cornerstone of the patient-doctor relationship. Hence, from this point the author would like to conclude that problem posted in this paper is a threat to the cornerstone of the mentioned relationship. However, the author would like to reiterate that it is not only the cornerstone of patient-doctor relationship but of the relationship of the patient to the medical industry.
Hence, the dilemma of the medical people to give their patients the exact amount of the confidentiality and privacy as to their medical records is given in every law of medical ethics and law of any state. This dilemma could be managed on the capabilities of the medical people to make the patient feel at ease as regards to the acquisition of such knowledge. The knowledge and at the way to their patients at ease as to the amount of information, and initial proper reaction of the employers will all depend on the way the medical people will impart such information. The worst information can be regards as lesser than worst, thru the correct use of words.
C vs. Dr. Cairns  LLRM 90.
Department of Health, Privacy and Confidentiality. retrieved 26 August 2008, at < http://www.health.state.ny.us/facilities/nursing/rights/privacy_and_confidentiality.htm>.
Dolan, B, 2008. Medical Records: Disclosing Clinical Information. Retrieved 27 August 2008 at < http://pb.rcpsych.org/cgi/content/full/28/2/53>.
Travis, D. Confidentiality of Records. AMA Victoria. Retrieved 26 August 2008, at < http://www.amavic.com.au/page/Media/Whats_New/Confidentiality_of_medical_records_/>.
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