Pakistan: Need for Statutory Safeguards as to Privacy of Health Information
4 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2016
Date Written: December 17, 2016
Confidentiality of medical and health information is a highly respected and strictly enforced right of patients in many countries, but in Pakistan it is a right that is not sufficiently recognized or enforced.
Pakistan needs to improves its laws when it comes to standards, regulation, and sanction for the breach of confidentiality of medical information. There are some elementary references to confidentiality of patients’ health information in select voluntary guidelines, and charters of provincial level statutory bodies, which are assessed in this article as to their sufficiency or not.
Policy makers in Pakistan need to acknowledge that health information can include some of the most intimate details about a person’s life. It can include a patient’s physical and mental health, and can also include information on social behaviours, personal relationships, and financial status.
If privacy of health information is disrespected then the individuals whose health information is inappropriately shared/accessed can face a number of potential harms. The unauthorized disclosure of health information may cause intrinsic harm simply because that private information is known by others. Another potential danger is economic harm. Victims of breach could lose their job, health insurance, or housing if the wrong type of information becomes public knowledge. Victims of breach could also experience social or psychological harm.
Keywords: Civil Liberties, Human Rights, Right to Privacy, Data Protection Law, Pakistan
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