Essay On Patient Confidentiality

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Introduction

Formulated in ancient Greece over 2500 years ago, the Hippocratic Oath has long been used as a pledge for medical practitioners to uphold the highest ethical standards in the course of their practice (North, 2002; Eva, 2013). During the course of modern medical history, many modern adaptations continue to be used as a symbolic rite of passage for new doctors (Holmboe & Bernabeo, 2013; Kantarjian & Steensma, 2014). One of the cornerstones of medical ethics highlighted in the original text, which remains relevant even in the present day is the concept of patient confidentiality.

Patient confidentiality is the state of keeping private and secure the information of a patient-doctor encounter. It has been broadly defined to include the security of information in patient records, restriction of information to authorized recipients and professional silence (Allen, 2011). The patient-doctor relationship is based on trust and the understanding that the often deeply personal information shared
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It recognises the conflict between beneficence (provision of multi-disciplinary care, provision of training to medical students and postgraduate trainees) and confidentiality (disclosure of the medical record). The GMC (2009) notes that, most patients understand and accept the need to share information within the healthcare team that support the provision of care. The GMC also recommends that this information should be made readily available to patients in the form of posters, online or face-to-face and be tailored as much as possible to the patient’s needs (GMC, 2009). It is thus now recognized that the “patient-doctor” relationship has been largely supplanted by the “patient-healthcare team” relationship (Ferguson, 2012), and that information disclosure should take place in a manner that is consistent with the “spirit” of patient confidentiality (Anesi,
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