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Home > Privacy and Business > Medical Privacy > Exceptions to Medical Privacy > Disclosure to Other Providers


Disclosure to Other Providers

As health care has increasingly been delivered by networks of providers, the question of disclosure to other providers, such as specialists and laboratory workers, has become more important.

Generally, consent for disclosure to other providers should be implied in most cases. Unless a patient specifically states a contrary wish, it can probably be assumed that he or she recognizes and wants the benefits of bringing other professionals into the treatment process.

It is important, though, to note that other providers take patients' information with the same duty to maintain its privacy as the provider who collected the information. A specialist who learns information from the patient's primary caregiver may not pass it along except to another provider who is involved in the patient's care and who has the same privacy obligation to the patient.

Patients who wish to refuse consent to information sharing within a network of providers should be able to do so. They must also be willing to pay a higher price for this less-efficient method of care, and they must accept the risk of receiving potentially lower quality health care.


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[updated 12/28/00]



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