Assessment of Doctors’ Knowledge and Attitudes Towards Confidentiality in Hospital Care

Abstract

The physician’s duty of confidentiality is based on the observance of the patient’s privacy and intimacy and on the importance of respecting both of these rights, thus creating a relationship of confidence and collaboration between doctor and patient. The main objective of this work consists of analyzing the aspects that are related to the confidentiality of patients’ data with respect to the training, conduct and opinions of doctors from different Clinical Management Units of a third-level hospital via a questionnaire. The present study aimed to define the problem and determine whether the opinions of these professionals correspond to those observed in a previous work conducted at the same center. Of the 200 questionnaires that were collected, 62.5% were from consultants and the rest were from residents (37.5%) with an average of 14.4 ± 12.5 years in professional practice. The respondents noted habitual situations in which confidentiality was breached in the reference hospital (74%). The section on their attitudes and behaviors towards situations related to confidentiality showed a slightly lower average score than that of their medical knowledge; significant differences in these scores were observed between the consultants and residents as well as between the extreme age groups (≤ 30 vs. ≥ 51 years) and years of professional practice, thus more inadequate attitudes were consistently noted in younger doctors who had fewer years of experience. Finally, the respondents answered that the training of doctors in the aspects of healthcare law and ethics was the most important measure that the hospital could adopt regarding confidentiality practices.

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Correspondence to Cristina M. Beltran-Aroca.

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Beltran-Aroca, C.M., Labella, F., Font-Ugalde, P. et al. Assessment of Doctors’ Knowledge and Attitudes Towards Confidentiality in Hospital Care. Sci Eng Ethics 25, 1531–1548 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11948-018-0078-5

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Keywords

  • Confidentiality
  • Privacy
  • Healthcare law
  • Medical knowledge
  • Professional questionnaire
  • Ethical behavior