Providing appropriate medical treatment demands that a patient be able to candidly communicate with health care professionals. Hence, in the United States, medical privacy is recognized as an important policy objective. To varying degrees, depending on the jurisdiction, medical privacy is also protected by the law, as well as by the facts of a given situation. This entry examines the national medical privacy standards set forth by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), various court rulings that have affected medical privacy, patient-privacy privilege, and how technology is affecting the future of medical privacy.

Health care is a complex industry involving a panoply of individuals and organizations. Moreover, legal issues related to medical privacy go far beyond to whom a health care entity and/or ...

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