Patient Confidentiality

Patient Confidentiality

In the field of healthcare, patient confidentiality is highly regarded. Afterall, the relationship between a physician and a patient is based on trust. When a patient believes their personal information is kept safe and private, they are more inclined to share accurate information about their health. This trust is based on ethics and not necessarily law, as each state in the United States has different laws pertaining to confidentiality.

As a concept, confidentiality can be found in the earliest writings of Greek physician, Hippocrates of Cos. Opthamologists take the hippocratic oath, while optometrists, like those here at Omni Vision, take the optometric oath which similarly upholds patient confidentiality.

Doctors may share information about a condition or symptom with their peers however, the pillars of confidentiality are those that contain identifiable information such as a patient’s address, initials, name, occupation or identifiable family members.

Next, confidentiality applies to individuals and not their families. Doctors will typically not share information about a family member without consent. The only instance where a patient’s information may be shared with family, is when the patient is a minor under eighteen years in Texas, however the legal age varies in some other states. 

Lastly, there are exceptions to confidentiality as stated patient confidentiality is an ethical practice and not law, therefore a court can request the release of medical information and the doctor will comply. The doctor may also share information if the information is of public interest for example, if the patient has a disease or a virus that can expose the public to risk of death or serious harm.

Specifically to your eye care with Omni Vision Care, all patient information is held private starting from the patient intake form that is filled out before you are seen by an eye doctor. The contents of the page are scanned into each patient’s individual health chart and the physical pages are shredded.

For further information refer to the following articles linked below:

Confidentiality: Opinion E-3.2.1
College of Optometry: Principles of patient confidentiality
Occupation Code: Chapter 159. Physician-Patient Communication

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