reflect the legal requirements for disclosure: "A physician...shall safeguard patient
confidences within the constraints of the law."1 As stated earlier, the professional's
respect for client confidentiality upholds the individual's right to privacy.
d. Private Information Belonging Only to the Patient. Confidentiality protects
private information that belongs only to the patient. Such information should not be
open to public scrutiny as it might cause embarrassment or harm, if divulged.
DALLAS SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE (STD) REPORTING AFFECTS
PRIVACY RUT NOT CONFIDENTIALITY OF PHYSICIAN-PATIENT
In Dallas, Texas, cases of sexually transmitted diseases must be reported to the city.
In addition, the affected individual must be interviewed to determine the identity of
sexual partners who might also be affected. The affected party must be escorted to
the treatment center, if he or she refuses to accept treatment voluntarily, thus, to
some extent; the individual's right to privacy is abrogated.
Disclosure of privileged information, on the other hand, is limited to legitimate needs
of access within the medical community. (Those who have to know to provide
treatment.) Information on treatment is not divulged outside the medical community.
And so, confidentiality, the privileged nature of the physician-patient communication,
e. Confidentiality and Privacy in the Military. In a military setting, the welfare
of all soldiers is of concern in as much as the soldier's health affects military readiness
to perform assigned duties. In those circumstances in which information is needed
about the health of a soldier or when a medical procedure is necessary to restore the
soldier to a duty status, the soldier's autonomy (determination), privacy, and
confidentiality may be infringed upon, to some extent. Military medicine, however,
follows the privacy/confidentiality standards set forth by the American Medical
Association, except where obliged to do otherwise because of the mission. These
exceptions are determined on a case-by-case basis.
CONFIDENTIALITY VS INTRAHOSPITAL ACCESS TO INFORMATION
a. Accessibility of Medical Information to Hospital Staff. As stated above,
information gained though the examination or treatment of a patient is private
(personal) and confidential (protected). Yet, there are legitimate needs of access to
medical information. Medical information includes information pertaining to patient
evaluations, findings, diagnosis, and treatment. It also includes information given to
health care personnel in the course of treatment or evaluation. This medical
information must be accessible to hospital personnel with a legitimate need-to-know
who are involved in direct patient care, administration, and research.