oa South African Family Practice - Confidentiality and privacy : what is the difference?
In the practice of medicine, the idea of confidentiality is articulated in almost all its oaths, guidelines and codes. Dating at least as far back to the Hippocratics, swearing that "... What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment, or even outside of the treatment, which of no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself ..." Confidentiality is not only of practical importance (who would continue to consult with a doctor who divulged personal information), but it is an ethical mandate as well. Privacy is similar in that it concerns one's person and is value-laden. The distinctions between confidentiality and privacy however are often unclear. In this article, we will articulate some of the conceptual differences, similarities and end with an example from current news which illuminates both concepts.
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