Encyclopedia of Global Bioethics

Living Edition
| Editors: Henk ten Have


  • Peter Ikechukwu OsujiEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-05544-2_115-1


Confidentiality is among the oldest and most widely acknowledged rules of bioethics dating back to Pythagoras and Hippocrates. The rule requires those who possess privileged information not to share it with other people, even if they need it, without the permission of the patient or the confider. The necessity for confidentiality and privacy is justified by respect for autonomy and the right to privacy. Likewise, the concept of autonomy and informed consent influences the understanding and practice of confidentiality as exemplified by the difference in the practice of confidentiality in Western bioethics on one hand and the practice in African and Asian bioethics on the other. Although the obligation of confidentiality is very important, it is not absolute.


Confidentiality Disclosure Healthcare Information Privacy Rights 
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Further Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Healthcare EthicsDuquesne UniversityPittsburghUSA