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The Importance of Medical Privacy
Medical privacy is vitally important. Maintaining the privacy of medical information
literally saves lives because, without the assurance of privacy, people may avoid
life-enhancing and life-saving treatments.
Rightly or wrongly, many illnesses and treatments have some stigma attached
to them. For this reason, people may avoid treatment if they are not confident that information about
them will remain private. Even patients with insurance may delay treatment
until their condition has worsened, or pay for treatment out of their own pockets,
in order to avoid revealing themselves to a health care system that they do not trust
to maintain confidentiality.
In addition, patients who seek treatment may withhold important information out of
concern for their privacy. This may prevent patients from receiving full and appropriate
Privacy is not only a means to an end. It is an independent good that individuals use
to maintain control over their personal lives. In the case of health care, though,
privacy is very much a means to improving medical outcomes. People who know they
can trust the health care system are more likely to seek full treatment. In this way,
privacy has concrete benefits for each individual, and for society as a whole.
(Subject: Medical Importance)
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