Hello there, reader! Before you read further, this post is #5 out of seven. The previous ones are Autonomy, Benevolence, Non-Malevolence, and Justice, and I would suggest reading through all of these, in order, before reading on.



So when it comes to confidentiality, it’s easier defined than implemented. Confidentiality means not divulging information extraneous to what is required; to inform on a need-to-know basis. But when it comes to information, how does one decide which pieces of information to divulge, and which ones to lock up? It’s pretty apparent for occupational information, but what about the personal? And even then, how to we ensure that we protect information without leaving loopholes for others to break through?

To help illustrate that last point, let’s think about what I mean by “loophole”. Whether that’s a “Remember me” check box, or a piece of convenient code to bypass certain security entrances, or even flaws in your logic when you make up an elaborate lie. Whatever it is, you are BOUND to have a security loophole if you choose to hide information. How do you keep your best friend’s secret, and function normally, if the secret is so fundamental to their life, yet unseemingly so for you?

It doesn’t help if psychological and physiological disorders cause you to be even MORE mindful of what you say…or in certain case, it takes the control AWAY from you. It stops you from doing the things you need to do in order to keep things a secret…in order to make rational decisions on how and what to organise as “secret” and “presentable” information.

In a medical context, imagine identifying a patient without dehumanizing them to being called something along the lines of “the appendicitis in ward 5B-12”. What sort of information is safe to pass around to identify the patient? Date of birth, full name, and address? That’s enough to send scam mail to the resident, to stalk the family of the patient, and to effectively open them up to theft, murder, or both.

Then what? What should we use? Patient ID number? Well, the problem with that is the patient details are stored on the hospital mainframe, and using the patient’s hospital ID will allow any intruders to alter the medical conditions of the patient, possibly causing the patient’s death via practitioners providing incorrect medical treatment. Though, depending on the patient type, it’s not likely to happen unless there is a mass change-over in duty of care in the hospital’s staff.

Of course, this isn’t the end of the discussion! Keep it going by commenting below on your arguments, thoughts, opinions, et cetera. Subscribe to see the final two posts, and don’t forget to check out the rest of my content!

And as always, dear reader, DFTBA!


4 thoughts on “Confidentiality

  1. This reminds me of an experience I had some time ago…
    My brother suddenly became ill during the night and my parents immediately took him to the hospital. The attendant at the front desk asked my parents to fill out the patient’s information form. Then she asked them whether he’s been to this hospital before. My parents said no, but when the attendant ran the patient info on the hospital’s database, there was a record of his visit to the hospital from about ten years ago.
    What happened that ten years ago was that my brother accidentally tipped over a TV screen and it crashed on top of him. Thankfully, he wasn’t hurt, but there was a tear on one of his eyebrows, and my parents took him to hospital to have it stitched. The procedure went well, and his tear healed, but the eyebrows never grew back, so he has an empty patch of skin in the middle of his eyebrow.
    Anyways, the hospital my parents took him was the same one they took him ten years ago. And the patient information was stored on the hospital’s database for ten years, even though we haven’t visited it during that time…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose they keep it there for situations like that…where they don’t need to make a new record, for the sake of continuity and accountability. Those records are kept for life, and then some infinite amount of time until the hardware fails and the information becomes unrecoverable.

      I’ll tell you this, Jaewon: confidentiality is given up by more people# and by larger degrees every day. If we expect companies to look after us in more personalised ways, we need to give them everything we know about ourselves. And then the system will know about us more than we do. It’s scary to think that people dare to steal this information because they wish to do harm to others; to be maleficent. The question stands at whether you want to trust the security of the hospital in terms of personal and digital security. I don’t think people truly understand how vulnerable we tech savvy people are…and I fear for the future.

      Liked by 1 person

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