b. Information Gained Within Privileged Relationship. The information has
to have been gained in the context of a privileged relationship (physician-patient,
lawyer-client, clergyman-layman, husband-wife). As stated earlier, states vary as to
which health care-patient relationships are, in fact, privileged in the eyes of the law.
Physicians, in any case, are protected under the privileged communication statute.
However, only information learned within the context of the professional relationship is
protected. For example, something the physician might have learned in a social
situation would not be protected.
c. Need and Propriety of Information. The nature of the information must be
such that it was necessary and relevant to the professional treatment of the patient.
3-14. LIMITATIONS ON CONFIDENTIALITY
a. Information not required to Act as Physician or Surgeon. Certain types
of information are not protected under the confidentiality laws. Information not needed
to act in the capacity of physician or surgeon is not privileged. If, during the course of
treatment, a patient discloses his or her intention to rob a bank, that disclosure is not
protected. And, the physician is obliged to report the patient's intent to commit the
b. Information that Is Plainly Observable to the Layman. If a patient goes to
a dermatologist to have severe sunburn treated, this condition would not be protected,
as it is clearly observable to anyone. The same would apply for someone wearing a
c. Facts Acquired Before or After the Privileged Relationship. If the
information is learned before or after the physician-patient relationship was established,
the information is not protected from disclosure.
LIMITATIONS ON CONFIDENTIALITY
Information not required to act as physician or surgeon.
Information plainly observable to the layman.
Facts acquired before or after the privileged relationship.
Figure 3-5. Certain categories of information are not protected under the