Confidentiality in medicine

Kling, Sharon
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Allergy Society of South Africa
Confidentiality in medicine ensures respect for the patient's privacy and improves health care by enabling the patient to trust the health professional with very personal information. Confidentiality may be breached if required in terms of the law, such as in the case of gunshot wounds, child or other abuse and communicable diseases. Other justifiable exceptions to the confidentiality rule are in an emergency situation, where the patient is incompetent or incapacitated, and in the case of psychiatrically ill patients who need to be committed to hospital. The final reason to breach confidentiality is to protect third parties, whether this is concern for the safety of a specific person or in the public interest. Two examples of the latter are the Tarasoff case and HIV / AIDS.
The original publication is available at
Confidential communications, Disclosure of information
Kling, S. 2010. Confidentiality in medicine. Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology, 23 (4):196-198.