Internet Article: Patient Confidentiality Takes on a New Meaning.

Essay by djdatnastyCollege, Undergraduate December 2003

download word file, 2 pages 4.7 1 reviews

Downloaded 201 times

This article talks about health care information that is inappropriately or incorrectly communicated can result in misuse of that information and could cause patient harm. Everyday, our private health care information is being collected, shared, analyzed and stored with few legal protections. Confidentiality is a central component to the foundation of the helping professions. Without confidentiality, the client/nurse relationship is in danger of losing the developed levels of trust. Nurses carry a particularly heavy burden of responsibility because they share many personal and intimate details about patients during the time they provide care. This information is volunteered by patients based on trust that the nurse or doctor will not expose the personal information.

The article points out many ways that patient information could be breached. Notes are left on the front desk, patient charts are unsecured, and information is disclosed during telephone calls because we assume the person on the other end of the telephone is an appropriate receiver of the information.

Computer security is also breached when users share password information, the computer is left unattended, or we do not understand or simply forget about logging out. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is to guarantee ongoing health insurance coverage, reduce fraud and abuse, protect patient information, and simplify administrative reporting. Its intent is to ensure privacy, maintain patient confidentiality, and implement methods of sending and receiving the correct information to and from the correct people.

"You don't always have to be secret about your patients. You can, of course, share pertinent information about a patient with colleagues who are directly involved in his care. But you can't tell just anyone who works at the hospital" ( There are many situations encountered thought the course of the day that will test you when dealing with...