Currently, there are several guidelines for practitioners that help work within the policy and law of each healthcare institution. It includes maintaining confidentiality and the use of appropriate ethical and legal principles when disclosing information. Everyone, especially patients, deserve respect for their data and privacy; as a result, these guidelines are essential to building a significant patient-healthcare provider relationship and maintaining care standards.
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In the field of health service, the retention of personal information means that the provider has liability for building trust between the individual and himself within the care practice. The sufficient reliability issue of maintaining patient confidentiality by practitioners is directly related to the observance of the ethical principle of Confidentiality (Majumder & Guerrini, 2016). It means that they should not disclose personal information and details of conversations with an individual to anyone unless it is necessary for some reason. The provider should avoid writing about specific patients, showing computer records and personal notes to someone, getting the patient’s consent to cover any information related to him, and using a respectful tone in the discussion (Majumder & Guerrini, 2016). Otherwise, the implications consist of damaging the professional image, violating confidentiality, and not adhering to the ethical principle of Confidentiality (Majumder & Guerrini, 2016). In my experience, such a case negatively affected the healthcare practitioner’s career and limited his credibility.
Confidentiality is essential to encourage people to voice their concerns and problems. There are several federal and state legal requirements that relate to a person’s individual privacy and healthcare information disclosure (Cohen & Mello, 2018). However, if the providers are working with patients and their records, first of all, they need to know the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) (Cohen & Mello, 2018). Specifically, the rule provides a request for written permission from an individual to release personal health information, unless there is a specific exception, such as health operation, payment, and treatment (Cohen & Mello, 2018). It constitutes the most critical piece of legislation regarding the unauthorized use of patient information and the required action in situations where it should be disclosed.
There are other acceptable cases where patient information may be released. In particular, Bulletin: HIPAA Privacy in Emergency Situations allows for it when it is necessary to reduce or prevent an imminent and serious threat to human safety and health (Cohen & Mello, 2018). It is connected with Nonmaleficence’s ethical principle, which is defined as the absence of harm (Majumder & Guerrini, 2016). This term employs in protecting patients from danger and relieving suffering. In my experience, there was a case where the provider, when a patient was in jeopardy, communicated his concerns to a manager, and thus helped prevent the risk of harm.
To summarize, guidelines for maintaining confidentiality and the use of appropriate legal and ethical principles in disclosing information are undoubtedly crucial for building a significant patient-healthcare provider relationship and maintaining standards of care. It should be minded that in case of disclosure of information, the minimum amount necessary for solving a particular situation must be transferred to the authorities or relevant persons. Among the other recommendations, the guideline may include referring the patient to a safer means of communication or to a professional site in case of requesting him to join the provider’s personal network. Otherwise, the consequences are the violation of personal and professional boundaries.
Cohen, G. & Mello, M. M. (2018). HIPAA and Protecting Health Information in the 21st Century. JAMA, 320(3), 231–232. Web.
Majumder, M. A. & Guerrini, C. J. (2016). Federal privacy protections: Ethical foundations, sources of confusion in clinical medicine, and controversies in biomedical research. AMA Journal Ethics, 18(3), 288-298. Web.
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