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Issue of Privacy in Healthcare Administration
Patient privacy and confidentiality have ever been a hot topic. More often than not, patients provide sensitive information to nurses and doctors with a promise that the information provided will be kept confidential owing to the moral implications which are tagged with the breach of patient’s privacy (Aroskar 346). However, health workers are faced with a dilemma of how much information they should hold from the public. Withholding a patient’s information has been the set standards the managing patient’s information but how much information should be withheld from for example family members becomes a dilemma and deciding on how much information that can be released to the public in case of protection of public interest offers a big hurdle.
Health workers have the moral obligation to withhold patient’s information from any leak to the public with exception of few cases such as when it is required for litigation purposes. Maintaining patient’s privacy is part of the code of ethics and professionalism.
According to Zabel (3), leakage of a patient’s information to the public is morally as this predisposes the patient to discrimination by exposing them to public ridicule. It is common knowledge that people don’t become seek by choice hence should not be discriminated whatsoever.
As discussed above discrimination is not only skewed to physical exclusion but it is also can be psychological discrimination. This happens when the public or community members’ actions do affect the emotional status of those patients.
The law provides for the protection of patient’s information and this has is in the code of conduct of health workers. According to Ornstein (19), the health workers have a duty to protect the information of the patient. In this case, therefore, it is a duty and not favors that health workers do to patients.
Protection of patient information is a long-term process and doesn’t end when the patient gets healed. It is a continuous process that should be kept as so even if the patient dies. Dying of the patient does not end the protection of patient information hence the information should be held as so.
Another similar scenario is when another health worker accidentally gets the information of the patient. Even though the health worker has not pledged to the patient to maintain privacy for the same, the health worker is bound by law to keep that information confidential.
Contrary to the above ideation of keeping patients’ information, some authors argue that this is retrogressive. They provide an example of the provision of patient information for the purpose research has something that should be encouraged. They value research as something that will improve patients’ care of patient at the expense of patient privacy but according to Aroskar (344) patient information should not be released be it for financial purpose or for research purpose. This leaves us with a dilemma. I am of the view that if the information that is supposed to be released outweighs the benefits of not releasing it, and then it is at the digression of the administration to release it but only with consultation with the affected patients.
To sum it up, patient information should be kept as private as required by law and the professional code of conduct for health workers. Any breach of that should be punished and the patient be paid for the damages incurred as a result of such a breach in information privacy.
Aroskar, Mila. “Ethical Dilemmas and Community H ealth Nursing.” The Linacre Quarterly (1977): 340-346. Document.
Ornstein, Charles. Small Violations Of Medical Privacy Can Hurt Patients And Erode Trust. 10 December 2015. Document. 25 November 2017.
Zabel, Laurie. 10 common HIPAA violations and preventative measures to keep your practice in compliance. 22 June 2016. Document. 25 November 2017.
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