The role of medical confidentiality is to avoid disclosure of personal information gathered in the course of the practice of medicine (Frankel 1994). Since medical practitioners deal with the most intimate physical and mental data concerning the people they treat, it is not hard to comprehend why patients would not want potentially embarrassing facts or conditions revealed to others without their consents. There has never been any time that medical records are confidential . The concept of confidentiality appears to be unreal.
For instance, banks inform their clients that the bank account records are confidential but they still go ahead to give out customers’ records without their consents. They give out such pieces of information to agencies like auditors, police, bank regulators and the internal record service. The same thing goes for medical records in which there is no limitation to who and who accesses patients’ records in the hospital as employees, laboratory attendants, X ray unit, nursing department all have access to patients’ case note .
Employer of the patient may even have access to the record if he is the one that pays for the insurance. From the foregoing it therefore means that medical records are not confidential in most cases. In actual fact, medical records appear to be the most shared record. Legislation or regulatory control may not altogether eliminate this problem. The solution is a better information management that guides the use, maintainace and the sharing of the medical records of patients.
We cannot totally ensure the sacredness of the medical records as it were as too many experts are involved in the management of a patient and they are all needed in different conditions. There is therefore a need to be open to the public as well as to lower the expectation. We cannot entirely assure that medical records of patients are strictly confidential as this is impossible once a third party is involved in the management of a patient Reference Frankel, J. J. (1994). “Medical malpractice law and health care cost containment: lessons for reformers from the clash of cultures. ” Yale Law Journal, 103(5): 1297-1331.