Patient Confidentiality Case Study

Pages: 2 (802 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Health - Nursing

Patient Confidentiality

To determine whether or not a physician displaying graphic photos of a patient who attempted suicide is a breach of that patient's confidentiality, one has to examine the particular circumstances surrounding the display of the photos. First, it is important to examine the context. As described, the scenario is a physician showing a group of approximately 15 people graphic photos of a patient. There is absolutely nothing in the scenario to suggest that the physician is showing these pictures in the context of getting help for the patient; they are not being used to diagnose her condition, to elicit information about treatment, or even being shared with the police as part of a police investigation into a violent incident. Instead, it appears that that the photos are being shared gratuitously, which means that they probably would not trigger any exceptions to confidentiality.

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Next, one must consider whether sharing the pictures violates the patient's confidentiality. While this seems like one issue, there are actually two separate, but related issues, to determine. First, did it violate the patient's confidentiality to take the photos? Second, did it violate the patient's confidentiality to share the photos? Answering the questions requires consulting the relevant legal statutes. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA") mandated legal protection for confidential patient information; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services responded by issuing the Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information ("Privacy Rule"), which governs the transmission of confidential information.

Case Study on Patient Confidentiality Assignment

Before answering either issue, it is important to determine whether the pictures are the type of information that would be protected under the Privacy Rule. At first blush, the answer may seem to be no, since pictures are not, in and of themselves, health information. However, the pictures are described as graphic pictures of a woman after a suicide attempt. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Privacy Rule protects individually identifiable health information, including information about an individual's mental health (2012). Pictures of a suicide patient would ostensibly allow her to be identified. Moreover, the fact that she attempted suicide would clearly be information about her mental health. Therefore, the pictures would be covered under the Privacy Rule.

Although the pictures would be covered under the Privacy Rule, it does not appear that taking the photos would violate the patient's confidentiality. A physician who is treating a… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Patient Confidentiality" Case Study in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Patient Confidentiality.  (2012, December 10).  Retrieved October 30, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Patient Confidentiality."  10 December 2012.  Web.  30 October 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Patient Confidentiality."  December 10, 2012.  Accessed October 30, 2020.