In essence, the Confidentiality Statement expresses the homeopath’s duty to maintain confidentiality that means no discloser of any medical information revealed by a patient or discovered by the homeopath in connection with the treatment of a patient. The information disclosed to the homeopath during the course of consultation is confidential to the utmost degree.
The purpose of a homeopath’s ethical duty to maintain patient confidentiality is to allow the patient to feel free to make a full and frank disclosure of information to the homeopath with the knowledge that the homeopath will protect the confidential nature of the information disclosed. Full disclosure enables the homeopath to diagnose conditions properly and to treat the patient appropriately. In return for the patient’s honesty, the homeopath generally should not reveal confidential communications or information without the patient’s express consent unless required to disclose the information by law. There are exceptions to the rule, such as where a patient threatens bodily harm to himself or herself or to another person.
Maintaining patient confidentiality is a legal duty as well as an ethical duty. Need of sharing information about a case for the purpose of teaching, lectures or professional advice can sometime appear but this information is strictly not associated with the patient’s name or identification and is generally and anonymously presented.
Despite these ethical and legal obligations, access to confidential patient information has become more prevalent in our computerized society. Electronic communication and storage of health information in databases sometimes can allow unauthorized access and transmission of health data. However, using electronic technology allows patients to be treated more efficiently and safely. The challenge is to utilize this technology, while honoring and respecting patient confidentiality, assuring high electronic protection of data.
Livia Tiba – Classical Homeopath