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Privacy and Confidentiality in Healthcare

This paper seeks to explore patients’ rights to confidentiality and privacy of their health records. Everyone would want their health records to be kept safe and only accessed by relevant and authorized personnel. Healthy records are such sensitive documents that could be used against someone if they fall into the hands of malicious people. Several detrimental effects may befall an individual in the event of a breach in health record safety. Examples are blackmail and discrimination based on your health records, diagnosis, treatment plan, and prognosis. All these might be used to mock individuals and deny them a right to fair employment opportunities. Therefore systems sh0uld be in place to promote the safety and confidentiality of health records (Networks et al., 2021).

It is every individual’s right to access quality healthcare regardless of their ability to pay for it. In emergency cases, healthcare professionals are expected to give medical assistance no matter the reputation of the patient in question (“Patient Rights & Responsibilities”, 2021). This universal right to healthcare ensures one is treated with dignity and respect away from the usual inequalities and discrimination like race, gender, and socio-economic ability. With this right also comes the right to security of health records, which is engraved in federal and state law. Health records refer to all conversations held with your physician, all writings by the patient, further consultation with the treatment team, and other insurance documents. However, in this right to the confidentiality of information, there are exceptions like cases of abuse. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), there is a provision for the confidentiality of patient records. The state of California recognizes and acknowledges that health records and payment records as confidential and privileged.

Both federal and state law demands the treatment of all health records with respect and confidentiality they deserve. Whether in paper, electronic, or conversations, healthcare organizations are obligated to maintain the privacy and security of the information. This is a statutory requirement. Thus it must be adhered to. The second obligation is reporting cases of self-inflicted harm, adult and child abuse, wounds that reckon with criminal activity. The healthcare provider should follow due process by reporting to0 the relevant authorities for action (“Federal and State Health Laws – California Health and Human Services”, 2021).

Failure to comply with legal obligations could result in consequences that could greatly affect the healthcare provider. Healthcare personnel is obligated to report self-harm and harm incidents to other state and federal officers for action. Failure to do so and another similar event that occurs could lead to a legal suit. An example is the Tarasoff vs. regents. Where the perpetrator, Poddar, confided in his therapist of the intention to kill Tatiana. The therapist never disclosed the information and ended up losing the girl. The therapist was jailed (Geiderman & Marco, 2021). The obligation to privacy, when breached, could also result in lawsuits and even loss of practicing license. Hospitals could also be fined, as in the case of the community hospital of san Bernadino was fined 250000 dollars after employees accessed patient files (“Confidentiality breach: Hospital sent patient records to auto shop”, 2021).

To counteract a breach of privacy, I would install software that monitors access to medical records. Only departmental heads could have the authority to transfer records to other doctors. As a healthcare manager, I would also ensure my professionals have a manageable workload to limit confusion from exhaustion out of handling numerous patients. On the obligation of disclosure, there would be an automatic software for healthcare professionals to key in information on the confidentiality exemption cases. An automatic report is sent to the relevant officials.


Confidentiality breach: Hospital sent patient records to an auto shop. FierceHealthcare. (2021). Retrieved 9 November 2021, from

Federal and State Health Laws – California Health and Human Services. California Health and Human Services. (2021). Retrieved 9 November 2021, from

Geiderman, J., & Marco, C. (2021). Mandatory and permissive reporting laws: obligations, challenges, moral dilemmas, and opportunities. Retrieved 9 November 2021, from.

Networks, I., Donaldson, M., & Lohr, K. (2021). Confidentiality and Privacy of Personal Data. Retrieved 9 November 2021, from

Patient Rights & Responsibilities. (2021). Retrieved 9 November 2021, from



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