One of the significant duties of medical practitioners is to enhance patient confidentiality at all times. Conventionally, it necessitates health experts to ensure that patients’ individualize or personal information is kept secret unless patients give consent (Lin & Tsai, 2011). Confidential documents of patients like theatre lists ought to be discarded more appropriately by paper shredding to conceal information. This paper endeavors to critically analyze confidentiality and challenges that hinder its attainment in the nursing practice.
Confidentiality is vital hence it has to be upheld at all costs. Patients frequently provide nurses with personal data which is paramount in improving the provision of quality care. In case the privacy of the information is not sustained, trust in the patient-nurse relationship is eroded. Subsequently, patients would decline sharing out sensitive information (McGowan, 2012). In addition, this situation would negatively affect their care as well as service delivery.
In establishing an environment of trust by respecting the privacy of patients, it motivates them to seek medical care hence be truthful. Likewise, it might also intensify a patient’s willingness to strive for care (Lucassen and Parker, 2010). For situations which could be stigmatizing, for example, psychiatric, public health, sexual and reproductive health issues, confidentiality guarantees that personalized data will not be conveyed to employers or family members without patients’ consent.
There are diverse challenges that restrain the maintenance of patient confidentiality. Unintentional disclosures could occur in various ways. For instance, when there is insufficient time, healthcare providers might be tempted into discussing a patient in a public place, however, maintaining secrecy may be difficult in such scenarios (Blightman, Griffiths and Danbury, 2013). Similarly, handout copies which have distinguishable patient information used in teaching conferences might not be removed from the healthcare organizations. Therefore, patient confidentiality is breached.
Another challenge in protecting patient privacy is the existence of legislative gaps or unclear laws. Exceptional health confidentiality breaches alongside conflicting and complex healthcare privacy laws have caused trust issues. Patients do not have confidence that their private data will be concealed. Therefore, the existence of this conflicting laws causes confusion to health professionals on how to handle the information or what is expected of them (Sheather and Brannan, 2013). Subsequently, unintended confidentiality breaches are possibly common in wards in case medical notes revealing patient assessments and consultations are conducted and left in open environments.
Lack of belief from patients that their medical information will be kept a secret is another core problem. Upholding patient trust remains to be the basis of a prosperous healthcare system. The inexistence of trust, therefore, adversely affects patients since most of them will not seek medication. In the same token, after pursuing healthcare, the patients might not reveal imperative information. Therefore, this could result in life-threatening consequences (Lin and Tsai, 2011). Consequently, many people steer clear treatment every year since they know health information is not kept private. For example, most young people ailing from sexually transmitted ailments do not seek medical treatment. Furthermore, this hinders the delivery of quality care and could lead to other negative incidences such as suicides.
There is increased digitalization in the contemporary world and so is the healthcare system. Subsequently, this creates a great problem in attaining patient confidentiality (Hader and Brown, 2010). Health data is digitalized hence there is a challenge on ensuring that the persons who access, share and modify electronic data enhance privacy.
In conclusion, patient information secrecy is a basic right which is encountering various challenges. As information is becoming digitalized, its access increases significantly. Patients do not have to forego their privacy rights so as to get health care. Patient-doctor trust ought to be established and maintained in order to attain confidentiality. It is important to note that any patient information whether electronic or written which identifies a patient indirectly or directly is subject to the obligation of confidence. Confidentiality is vital and due to its vitality it has to be upheld at all costs. The personal data provide to the nurses by the patients is paramount in improving the provision of quality care and should be handled with confidentiality. In case the privacy of the information is not sustained, trust in the patient-nurse relationship would be interfered with or eroded.
Blightman, K., Griffiths, S. E., & Danbury, C. (2013). Patient confidentiality: when can a breach be justified?. Continuing Education in Anaesthesia, Critical Care & Pain, 14(2), 52-56.
Hader, A. L., & Brown, E. D. (2010). LEGAL BRIEFS. Patient Privacy and Social Media. AANA journal, 78(4).
Lin, Y. P., & Tsai, Y. F. (2011). Maintaining patients’ dignity during clinical care: a qualitative interview study. Journal of advanced nursing, 67(2), 340-348.
Lucassen, A., & Parker, M. (2010)f. Confidentiality and sharing genetic information with relatives. The Lancet, 375(9725), 1507-1509.
McGowan, C. (2012). Patients’ confidentiality. Critical care nurse, 32(5), 61-64.Sheather, J., & Brannan, S. (2013). Patient confidentialit
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