In 2008, 6 doctors and 13 employees at UCLA Medical Center couldn’t resist to snoop into Britney Spears’ medical records after the singer’s release from psychiatric care. The problem? Although they were employees of the hospital, they didn’t have the legal medical need to do so. The result? They all got fired under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) violations.
Sometimes, in medical practice, or any profession for that matter, you’re caught in a seemingly innocent situation only to find yourself in hot water afterward, and when it involves the privacy of the people you vowed to serve, it can turn real ugly. You may also see sample data confidentiality agreements.
Sometimes the temptation to know is too strong, but the need to do what’s morally right and what the ethical standards of your job demands should be stronger. Otherwise, you will have to face consequences beyond what your pride can accept, and when worse comes to worst, especially in the medical profession, you’ll probably end up losing your job, your license, and your reputation. You may also see personal confidentiality agreements.
It’s going to be tough for everyone involved, from the doctors to the nurses and even the rest of the non-medical staff. Therefore, anyone wanting a career in the health industry should know that patient confidentiality is one of medicine’s most important pillars. You may also see human resources confidentiality agreements.
Protecting a patient’s private information is not just a matter of respect and moral high ground, it is crucial in keeping and maintaining the important bond of trust between a doctor and his client. Confidentiality often proves vital in the treatment of diseases and ill health among patients. Without it, individuals will think twice about disclosing details about themselves-medical history, family members’ information that could be important to the treatment, for fear that it might end up in the wrong hands, affect their personal relationships, job, lifestyle, and reputation. You may also see mutual confidentiality agreements.
Confidentiality as a patient is an individual’s right to keep his personal, identifiable medical records private. Such information should only be made available to the doctor whose care he was under and other health-care or insurance staff as deemed necessary or legal. As of 2003, patient confidentiality was protected through federal statute. You may also see simple confidentiality agreements.
Since disclosure of private information could result to problems in a person’s profession and personal life, patients depend on physicians to keep their medical information private, establishing it through a patient basic confidentiality agreement that each party has to sign. It is however rare for health records to remain as a completely sealed file.
Perhaps the only situation wherein breach of confidentiality may seem unlikely harmful, is when people in clinical practice and research share medical information as case studies. Should data then be published in research journals, the patient’s identity is kept secret and all identifying details are either removed or changed for the protection of the patient’s identity. If this confidentiality is compromised in any way, patients will have the right to file a legal suit. You may also see the sample mutual confidentiality agreement.
The need to ensure protection and privacy of medical and personal data in the possession of health institutions with electronic medical records and third-party insurance payers pushed the passage of regulations by a federal authority such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 or HIPAA.
With HIPAA, all professionals and organizations in the health industry are required to safeguard the privacy of their clients and patients. Individuals must provide written consent for any and all releases of medical or health-related records. At all levels, employees are required to maintain confidentiality and produce a sample agreement with the patient for practical reasons.
Similar policies have been put in place for quite some time. This one was a requirement of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) for maintaining accreditation. All disclosure of confidentiality must define the kind of details that can be released, identify the groups or people that have been allowed access to the records and limit the length of time validating the release. You may also see real estate confidentiality agreements.
Patients have to routinely share personal information with health care professionals and providers. If the confidentiality of their information is breached, doctor-patient privilege, trust, and a relationship would no longer be possible. Patients wouldn’t be sharing sensitive information which could affect their care and treatment negatively, as a result.
Creating an environment and trust by respecting the patient’s privacy encourages a feeling of confidence for the patient to continue seeking care and be as totally honest as possible in the duration of his visit. It establishes trust and the patient’s willingness to seek care and treatment. In cases that may have a greater impact such as reproductive, sexual, public and psychiatric health concerns, nothing stronger assures the sample non-disclosure of sensitive information to family or employers without their permission than a confidentiality agreement.
There will likely be cases where the doctor feels it’s natural to share information such as response to a spouse’s inquiry but the requirements for the exception to the free confidentiality agreement may not be given. If there is no detailed and well-explained permission from the patient for access to the information being asked, even with the family member, disclosing private information in general, isn’t ethically justifiable.
The exception may, however, be possible in situations where the spouse or next of kin is in danger or when the risk is directly related to the patient’s diagnosis, otherwise, the responsibility to inform the spouse or family member will remain to be within the patient and sometimes, it could be the obligation of the local public health officers. You may also see non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements.
There are concerns which would override protection of a patient’s private records, in certain but rare circumstances.
Legally, access to medical information by third or external parties is restricted, yet at the same time, professionals have an obligation to protect identifiable individuals from any serious threat of danger if they have information that could prevent the danger. In this case, it should be established whether there is a strong reason to believe specific people or groups are in grave threat depending on the medical record available. You may also see medical confidentiality agreements.
For example, a homicidal idea wherein a patient shares a plot to ham someone with the doctor. The ruling should then imply that the responsibility to warn external parties of imminent threats easily trumps the responsibility to protect patient confidentiality and render the agreement void, if necessary. You may also see business confidentiality agreements.
Most would agree that it is ethically correct to warn an identifiable person of an imminent threat, thereby overriding the duty to confidentiality but these situations are less likely to happen and judgment demands of such cases are most often than not, subjective. It still remains that the duty to maintain confidentiality is very important but it can be overridden in certain, rare circumstances. You may also see volunteer confidentiality agreements.
State law requires that certain communicable diseases be reported to the local public health authorities for obvious reasons. Thus, the situation calls for the duty of protecting the health and safety of the public holds greater weight than the duty to protect a patient’s private information. From a legal standpoint, it is the state’s interest to protect public health that outweighs personal individual liberties in specific cases. You may also see sample employee confidentiality agreement templates.
For example, the diseases that need to be reported in the state of Washington includes measles, rabies, anthrax, sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, etc. If there are suspected cases of abuse for children, adolescent or the elderly, they should also be reported, same with gunshot wounds. As a medical practitioner, you should, therefore, be vigilant in being updated and informed regarding local and state policies, standards and exceptions allowed by law, when it comes to patient confidentiality. You may also see celebrity confidentiality agreements.
Privacy plays a crucial role in healthcare, but since third parties like health care insurance providers need to check their information for treatment and its not only the medical practice where patients are seeking care can have access to their files, confidentiality can often be tricky.
The challenge in the modern medical industry is that medical records can have a way of getting into the wrong hands through technology. But both the patient and doctor should always remember that there is nothing more sacred and important in the process of treatment and care than trust and confidentiality. The art of medicine is also founded on the basic truth that what is shared between them is private and should remain so, unless otherwise stated, allowed and guaranteed by the patient, and that what is shared between them does not lead to judgment. You may also see contractor confidentiality agreements.