Patient Rights: Privacy

If seeing your doctor intimidates you, it might make you feel better to remember that you have rights as a patient. As a matter of fact, it might really benefit you to think about it this way: doctors need patients in order to successfully do their jobs.

And because of that, you have certain rights that not only ensure you get the care you need, but also ensure that you feel your doctor(s) care about you as a person and not just a client.

One of the most important rights you have as a patient is the right to privacy. This protects your personal information but also protects your feelings. Your health is a private matter and sometimes the conditions you end up having are embarrassing or sensitive. While there is certainly no shame in contracting or developing any illness, some things can be difficult to talk about.

At the same time, this is also a time when personal information is precious to thieves and so you want to be sure that any information you give to your doctor is safe from that threat as well.

This is becoming more true, too, because many hospitals are moving towards electronic records. As such you, you want to be sure that your e-records are accurate and up to date. In the same way that it is important your credit is updated, you should make sure that your medical e-record is also up-to-date.

But the reason for updating your records is not just to make sure that you are safe from harm; it is also important for your records to be updated when you see a different doctor or a specialist who might request your medical records. They need to know which procedures you have had, what allergies you might have, and which medications you are already taking.