The 1997 medical ethics guidelines proposed by the National Human Rights Commission debar doctors from sharing a patient’s confidential information for any monetary inducement
Before You Give Authorisation...
It is always important for a patient to read and understand anything he is asked to sign. If he is authorizing a release of his medical records, advise him to ask for the specific purposes for which the information will be used and how long the authorisation lasts. Advice your patients against signing a form that asks them to release their medical records for “all legally valid purposes” without specifying a time limit.
The meaning of confidentiality
Because patients share so much sensitive, private and personal information with their doctor, the duty to maintain confidentiality has been enshrined in the Hippocratic Oath. The International Code of Medical Ethics states that “A physician shall preserve absolute confidentiality about all he knows about his patient, even after his patient has died.”
As per the Medical Council of India Code of Ethics Section Clause 7.14, “The registered medical practitioner shall not disclose the secrets of a patient that have been learnt in the exercise of his/her profession except –
i) In a court of law under orders of the Presiding Judge;
ii) In circumstances where there is a serious and identified risk to a specific person and/or community; and
iii) Notifiable diseases. It is his duty that he should inform public health authorities immediately about any communicable or notifiable disease. “
Of course, matters become more complex when there is a conflict between the right to privacy and the right to health of another individual.
Shh....A Patient Has the Right to Confidentiality
Patients need to be confident that the doctor will protect their confidentiality. Thus, if you don’t want your psychiatrist or your infertility consultant to call your secretary to leave a reminder about your next appointment, please make this request in writing.