Privacy and confidentiality of patients is an important element in the medical field. Health institutions should not disclose patients’ records to anyone. The constitution states that consent should be sought from the patients before the specified items in their medical records are released to interested parties. Although the use of consent is subject to debate since in some instances it leads use of data resources in the other areas other than healthcare related matters. The patient is required to be free and frank in revealing his medical information to the physician to aid in diagnosing and proper administration of medication.
The physician on his part is expected by medical of ethics to keep secret and confidential with certain exceptions by the law. This shows that a patient’s confidentiality is an ethical duty to the physician as well as a legal duty. Despite the existence of both the legal and ethical obligations, confidentiality of patients is being accessed without his consent and therefore the breach of confidentiality broken (Oken 1961). The use technology in the health system has allowed prevalent access to patients’ records.
The electronic systems used in health are integrated and share common databases and therefore access to confidential medical information becomes easier to outside parties. These records are used for sales promotion purposes i. e. mostly in the telecommunication industry where their records are used as items of reference to in identification of customers. The oral privacy rule can be breached in scenarios where a physician discusses medical treatment with the patient and a third party eavesdrop the conversation from an adjacent location which maybe is an earshot away.
According to the Health Law resource, employers are tapping into patients’ records to aid them in reviewing how they will act to their health insurance payment claims. Also the recorded data is used to calculate the amount that is allocated to healthcare allowances. The data is also accessed by health organizations in research and projections of future health policies which often leads to misuse of the patient’s privacy. Using humans as items of research negates healthcare ethics. This is prevalent in cases where new or generic drugs are tested on patients for their efficiency.
Another area where a patient’s right is deprived is during decision making processes. This is applicable in situations that call for others to make decisions on their behalf. The value of beneficence is usually given priority which at times might lead to vital implications on the end result. This can occur in cases where a medical practitioner does not consider all relevant factors of the situation at hand before deciding to take the necessary measure (Pence 2000). Trust and honesty are very vital elements in the medical field.
A patient is required to trust that the physician will keep private matters concerning medical history and by doing so disclose all the relevant details to the physician. In certain conditions that that might lead more complex cases the results of diagnosis are hidden from the patient when the likelihood of shocking the patient. This deprives the patient his right to information and also betrays his act of honesty. His autonomy is undermined and the informational privacy should be practiced adequately in such instances (Oken 1961).
Government regulations that require individuals to undergo mandatory testing for certain types of diseases breach the rights of patients. This has led patients to resorting to private hospitals since they believe that ethical values are usually observed given much emphasis in such institutions. Denying individuals opportunities for employment due to incomplete medical tests is doing them an injustice by denying them the chance to enjoy equal participation in national resources. This amounts to discrimination.
It can be seen that despite the existence of rules and regulation of medical ethics, adherence to the codes of conduct is inadequate in most health institutions. The health care systems need to be monitored to prevent occurrence of accessing data records through technological equipments. Rights of patients must also be given priority before the interests of the law are put into force. Medical practitioners are required by AMA to adhere to their ethics towards maintaining patients’ private and confidential health records. References The Health Law Resource: Privacy and confidentiality in clinical data management systems: why you should guard the safe?
Retrieved from http://www. netreach. net/~wmanning/cdm. htm HIPPA-Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Retrieved from http://www. ama-assn. org/ama/pub/physician-resources/solutions-managing-your- practice/coding-billing-insurance/hipaahealth-insurance-portability-accountability-act. shtml American Medical Association (AMA). : Patient Physician Relationship Topics. Retrieved from http://www. ama-assn. org/ama/pub/physician-resources/legal- topics/patient-physician-relationship-topics/patient-confidentiality. shtml