Medical Confidentiality-A 21st Century Dilemma

In today’s highly global world, it is not always easy to keep track of information flow and privacy. The unathorized exchange of medical information about patients is a topic of heated debate nowadays. The boundaries between sharing of medical information in the name of helping other patients and respecting patient rights and keeping their medical records confidential are somehow blurred.While some doctors argue that strict medical confidentiality is a relic of the past that is incompatible with the need for instant exchange of information that could make the difference between life and death; moral and ethical principles and patient rights still necessitate the confidentiality of medical information.

An internet research reveals controversial viewpoints about medical confidentiality. The American Medical Association (AMA) website contains useful information about patient confidentiality and explores the issue in depth.This is the best site I found on the internet about medical confidentiality because it contains objective, precise and to-the-point information. The best piece of information on the AMA site reflecting their point of view is that “if a record must be released, the patient should sign an appropriate release authorizing the disclosure of information in the medical record. ” I was very surprised and dissappointed with well known cardiologist Dr. Mehmet Oz who is also famous for his well-being books, appearances on the Oprah Show and website Realage.

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com, when I found out that the personal information of the visitors of Realagewas sold to pharmaceutical companies which collect data. In order to find out their “biological age”, people fill in the quiz on Realge. Pharmaceutical companies pay RealAge to get the results of these quizzes and send marketing messages by e-mail to the site members. Even though Realage. com is a very well prepared and organized site containing useful information about healtly living, its owners Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen obviously do not respect patient rights; and therefore this site is the worst site I reviewed.

What makes it worse is the fact that the visitor cannot know in advance that the information he shares with the site administrators through a simple quiz or test will be sold to a third party. The site creates a false feeling of security, while is dangerous for patient rights. During this search, I learned that even though the defenders of medical confidentiality are right, the enforcements and laws about this sensitive issue are not sufficient tools which can counter the breach of patient rights.The doctors or medical companies who disclose valuable information to third parties are using the gaps in the system. Many lawsuits have been proposed for breach of medical confidentiality and many more appear to be on the way. The 21st century’s global health and wellness industry also necessitates an international understanding of medical confidentiality and applicable sanctions. References Clifford,S.

Online Age Quiz Is a Window for Drug. New York Times. Retrieved May 17, 2009 from http://www. nytimes.com/2009/03/26/technology/internet/26privacy. html Doctor Patient Confidentiality Medical Malpractice Cases.

Retrieved May 17, 2009 from http://www. new-york-medical-malpractice. com/new_york_medical_malpractice_ doctor_patient_confidentiality. php. htm Patient Confidentiality. American Medical Association.

Retrieved May 17, 2009 from http://www. ama-assn. org/ama/pub/physician-resources/legal-topics/patient-physician- relationship-topics/patient-confidentiality. shtml Real Age.

Retrieved May 17, 2009 from http://www. realage. com/default. aspx