Ensuring the security, privacy, and protection of patient healthcare information is critical for all healthcare personnel and institutions.
Patient confidentiality is one of the essential pillars of the doctor-patient relationship. Protecting the private details of a patient is not just a matter of moral respect, it is vital to retaining the crucial bond of trust between the doctor and the patient.
The Central Information Commission denied man access to information about his fiancée’s health and the treatment she had undergone at a psychiatric center, claiming that the doctor-patient relationship was based on trust, which could not be breached.
The relationship between doctor-patient is a bond of trust and is exempted from disclosure under the Right to Information Act. It is information given by persons placed in an inferior position to another in a superior position. Hence there is a duty to keep the information confidential. The claim that the information affects an individual's personal life was not accepted as a ground to provide information because there was no public interest involved.
Confidentiality is an important right of the patient. Every hospital is legally bound to maintain the confidentiality of personal medical records. A patient can claim medical negligence against a hospital or a doctor for a breach of confidentiality.
There are exceptions to this rule which are:-
During patient referral.
When demanded by the police or Court of law upon a written request.
When demanded by an insurance company when the patient has relinquished his rights at the time of taking the Insurance policy.
When demanded in Consumer Protection cases or by the Income Tax Department.
Dr. Sunil Khattri 9811618704 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Sunil Khattri MBBS, MS(General Surgery), LLB, is a Medical doctor and is a practicing Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi