Patient confidentiality

“Some 13 per cent of US medical schools have reported that their students have leaked confidential information about patients via blogs or social networking websites. The students didn’t name names, but did provide enough personal information, such as the medical condition involved and hospital, for patients or their families to recognize who is being described…The information was provided by medical school administrators as part of a survey into students’ behavior online.

” (Callaway, 2009). Introduction: Doctor-patient confidentiality, unlike doctor-patient privilege, is not based on legal concept (law), but instead is based on ethics and the principle that individuals seeking medical help/advice should not be hindered by fear that their medical concerns or conditions will be carelessly disclosed to others (full disclosure is required for doctors to be able to properly diagnose patients). Both, however, can be called upon in legal matters.

Not only is what the patient tells/shows the doctor protected, but also the opinion or assessment formed by the doctor based on their examination of the patient. Privileges belongs to the patients, not the doctors or medical staff treating the patients. Generally, only a patient may waive this privilege through written consent, which, is required before a doctor or their staff can release any information about a patient. Describe the issue and its impact on the population it affects most: Divulging any patient information that can lead to identifying that patient is illegal.

And while the students in the above mentioned article did not leak any of the patients’ names, they did give enough information (hospital name/location, medical Patient Confidentiality 2 condition, and treatments) that the patients themselves and others who knew their medical condition could identify the patients. Not only does this make the affiliated hospital look bad, it can also hinder the trust that patients put into the doctors and their staff to protect their privacy. What arguments or facts are used in the article to support the proposed solution?

Since what the students did is not technically illegal, it is hard for the Universities to punish them or set rules against what they did. Getting the students to understand how damaging these posts can be to their professional reputation and respect from patients seems like the best option to me. “Preventing such behavior may present medical schools with a bigger challenge than online privacy violations precisely because they are not against the law, says Lindsay Thompson, a pediatrician at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville.

(Callaway 2009). Lindsay Thomson was working on drafting policies for students’ social networking and blogging at the time of publication. What are the ethical and legal issues reported for your administrative issue? When doctors graduate medical school, they are required to take “The Oath of Hippocrates, ” which states “Whatever I see or hear in the lives of my patients, whether in connection with my professional practice or not, which ought not to be spoken of outside, I will keep secret, as considering all such things to be private.

So long as I maintain this Oath faithfully and without corruption, may it be granted to me to partake of life fully and the practice of my art, gaining the respect of all men for all time. However, should I transgress this Oath and violate it, may the opposite be my fate. ” (“National Library Of Medicine”, 2002). Taking this oath, doctors promise to uphold the Patient Confidentiality 3 trust that patients give them when seeking medical advise.

When this oath is broken, it puts the doctor at risk for losing his/her license/profession, the hospital/office at risk for damaging the reputation, and the patient at risk for discrimination, lesser quality health care, loss of their job or health insurance, and potentially, the loss of respect from family and/or friends. In the above mentioned article, the students are not yet doctors, but should still be respectful of the oath they will one day have to take, HIPPA, and the confidence that patients put into them when seeking advise.

Explain the managerial responsibilities related to administrative ethical issues. If none were stated, what should have been done? Managers/instructors in this situation must ensure that the students at fault fully understand the consequences that could have come from such a breech of confidentiality. It is the manager’s duty to make sure that all set rules/regulations/laws are followed and any violators are punished accordingly. Even though no names were mentioned and medical issues could have been seen as no big deal to many, it still matters to the patient being disclosed.

Not only was the trust broken between the doctor and patient, but also the patients could have felt as though the doctors did not respect them or feel that their privacy was important. The students must be taught that one unfortunate incident can ruin your entire reputation no matter how much good has been done before/after the incident. Conclusion: No matter what stage of medical professionalism you are in, respecting the patients’ privacy is a key component to being successful and respected in the medical field by both patients and fellow employees.

No matter what situation the students find Patient Confidentiality 4 themselves in, the bottom line remains the same, “Maintain your patient’s confidentiality. Exceptions to this must be taken very seriously. They may include where there is a serious risk to the patient or another person, where required by law, where part of approved research, or where there are overwhelming societal issues. ” (Skene, University of Melbourne, “Confidentiality between patient and doctor,” 2012).

References CALLAWAY, E. (2009, September 23). CALLAWAY . ABC News, PG 1… http://abcnews. go. com/Technology/AheadoftheCurve/medical-students-leak-patient-info-facebook/story? id=8650491#. Tws5r0ozJGU National Library of Medicine. (2002). Retrieved from http://www. nlm. nih. gov/hmd/greek/greek_oath. html Skene, University of Melbourne, L. (2012). The Law Book. Retrieved from http://www. lawhandbook. org. au/handbook/ch19s01s04. php.

Introduction: The concept of “doctor-patient confidentiality” derives from English common law and is codified in many states’ statutes. It is based on ethics, not law, and goes at least as far back as the Roman Hippocratic Oath taken by physicians. …

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