Privacy or medical privacy is the act of keeping a patient’s information confidential. It involves anything spoken to the doctor by the patient and also the security of their medical records. Protecting the public health means acquiring, using and storing of extensive health-related information about individuals. The accumulation of data promises many benefits to the public health but also acts as a threat to the individual privacy. Every doctor has a moral right to protect any patients’ information and not releasing it to any other parties that are not the patient. In 1996, congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This gave the mandate of processing of electronic medical data. There are times however that the privacy of the patient might not be respected. In medicine there are particular times when the violation of the privacy of the patient might be deemed important.
When a patient’s right to privacy is breached it might lead to serious consequences which include loss of employment, termination of health insurances, passport frauds and illegal uses of one’s identity. These are some of the consequences that might come up when the privacy clause is breached and it therefore clear that privacy of the patient becomes a moral right. Everybody has a right to be protected from any kind of negative happenings that can be prevented. There are times however that the privacy of the patient might be breached.
With the emergence of new diseases and development, there might be an urge to share information about the current patients with researchers to improve the health care. It is the duty of the researchers to come up with cures to diseases that come up and become hard for the doctors to treat. It is also important to breach the privacy when there is a family member who has a particular illness. Going into the patient’s family medical reports will enlighten the doctor on the type of treatment that is needed by the patient. There are times that it becomes important to breach the rights of privacy of the patient.
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Wartenberg D. and Thompson W. D., (2010) Privacy Versus Public Health: The Impact of Current Confidentiality Rules American Journal of Public Health Vol.100 No.3 pp 407-412