Healthcare professionals have access to patient’s health information that can be used in the treatment process. In the described case, the nurse needs to obtain contact information and prescriptions for a successful recovery. In this case, access to information is required solely for professional purposes to provide medical care to the patient, which gives medical professionals the right to use it (Department of Health and Human Services, 2009). The nurse can correct the error and transmit copies of the missing documents to the patient via electronic means of communication, protected by the required standards (Department of Health and Human Services, 2009). At the request of the patient, they can also independently come for the documents and pick up their printed copies at the hospital.
The primary way to ensure patient confidentiality at the front desk or in the waiting room is to transmit any medical information only in writing or electronically. The disclosure of such data by telephone is unacceptable to maintain privacy. Another way is not to leave data unattended at the reception desk or waiting room. The third method requires not to leave any access information such as passwords for computers or keys in the clear visibility or availability. A breach of confidentiality primarily leads to the possible disclosure of patients’ private information and violation of privacy rules. In turn, such consequences can result in legal action, disciplinary proceedings, fines, or other penalties for a medical professional or institution.
There are exceptions where healthcare professionals may disclose patient health information to third parties. First, it is possible to conduct legal and judicial proceedings at the request of the court. Second, public health is prioritized over individual information privacy; thus, healthcare providers can share information with third parties for public health reasons. For example, this may be necessary when collecting epidemiological information in order to protect the population.
Department of Health and Human Services. (2009). 45 CFR Subtitle A (10–1–11 Edition). Web.