Is Sharing De-Identified Data Illegal?
[Student’s Full Name]
Sharing a patient’s sensible information must be done carefully. We have learned that unless the therapist gets a written consent from the patient or organization, those details susceptible to give an idea of the patient’s true identity. On the other hand, if there is a legal interest in the case, the therapist requires a legal authorization to disclose those details. However, it is important to note that if the patient’s condition can get worse because of the process of giving consent, the situation must be assessed before. In that way, the question of asking or providing consent when showing clinical records is an ethical matter that has to be determined to avoid decisions that would lead to the patient’s exploitation or harm. In this essay, we shall submit a description of the method we used to select the peer-reviewed article we have chosen. In the same way, we will write a description of how the article provides additional information on the issue of the informed consent in clinical writings.
We chose the article “Is Sharing De-identified Data Legal?” To find the article, we searched the databases of the Cobimet virtual library.
The report says that the most laws regarding therapist-patient confidentiality share a common theme, and that is that the disclosure of personal details is forbidden by the law. However, when the records are considered non-personal, con be disclosed. This poses a problem, since despite the “non-personal” label on those records, they still belong to someone, and by disclosing them, we can be trampling someone’s rights; or even hindering their therapeutic process. That is the ethical problem underlying this issue. Is it ok to disclose records despite the potential harms? In situations like this one, we must have to exercise extreme care in order to prevent problems with the patient that could lead to further problems. However, to avoid this, most hospitals and health facilities decide to remove sensible information from the records, to avoid identifying patients and hindering their rights. This process, known as de-identification intends to protect patients from the misuse of their information, and health facilities from lawsuits.
In the same way, the study says that if the situations where there is no evidence that deems necessary to re-identify individuals, it is illegal to do it. However, if re-identifying patients has a purpose and keeps the person’s confidentiality, it can be done. Nevertheless, the principal fear that the opponents of re-identification propose is that it is possible to pinpoint the real patient’s information by establishing a series of parameters. In that case, therapists and health professionals would have to take additional measures to avoid the possibility of breaching a patient’s confidentiality. From the early 2000s, there have been a series of attempts to address this issue, as a way to improve the security of the patients, as well as conducting several tests to assess the strength of the de-identifying parameters proposed by health facilities.
De-identification keeps advancing, and more and more hospitals use it to protect their stakeholders’ privacy. However, there is still the issue of the problems concerning poor de-identification and privacy breaches. That is why health facilities have to exercise extreme caution when re-identifying patients. To us, this seems like an important ethic subject because it shows that regardless the situations if the law requires the identity of someone, the therapists must oblige. Nevertheless, with better processes that allow better confidentiality, privacy breaches are less and less frequent.
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