According to Australian Government - Office of the Privacy Commissioner (2007), the Australian human services confidentiality is a major principle defining the relationship between the human service workers and the clients. In the two cases the human services have privileged the notion of confidentiality over the more fundamental right of privacy. They argue there is a persistent confusion between these two concepts and that privacy is an important but neglected ethical concept within human services. The two cases are examples of breach of confidentiality and privacy and implications.
Following her accident, Sara was liable to compensation from her insurer in accordance to the New South Wales road accident compensation scheme. In New South Wales, people who suffer personal injuries because of road accidents can claim compensation under the New South Wales Motor Accidents Scheme, which is administered by the Motor Accidents Authority. Motor accident compensation claims are dealt with in accordance with the Motor Accidents Act 1988 and Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999. (The Motor Accidents Authority, 2012).
Sara's insurance company, which was to compensate her, did not accept the medical evidence issued by Sara's doctor and required further information which was a fringe of privacy according to Sara. When she signed the compensation claim form, the insurance company was to obtain the relevant information to the claim. After delaying her insurance compensation, the insuring company wanted her doctor for information that was not related to her accident and compensation. The insurance company wanted her full clinical notes from her doctor; a breach of the doctors Hippocratic Oath and professional ethics.
The claim by the insurer to get her medical records from her doctor was a breach of confidentiality and privacy between doctor and patient. Sara realized that it was irrelevant to access confidential notes pertaining toan unrelated sexual assault in a case of a motor vehicle accident insurance claim and further feared that the Insurance Companies access to her health history and potentially use this information was a breach of the privacy act by the insurance company.
The second case of Shannon is similar to Sara's. Shannon, albeit was young confided in a counsellor who in turn shared her confidential information with Shannon's family members, housemates and other irrelevant persons. Shannon's case was a gross breach of healthcare providers' work ethics by the counsellor. Shannon confided in the counsellor and told her own personal issues and her family health's issues too.
The intimate information that Shannon never wanted disclosed was conveyed to a third party against Shannon's wish of the disclosure. The fighting in Shannon's family got worse after the disclosure and the family tie broke; Shannon could not talk to anybody in her family and her trust and confidence in the counsellors and unrelated people waned instantly.
The details of Shannon's discussion with the counsellor were made known to her family which made hertraumatized and she saw it as a breach of confidentiality and privacy on the part of her counsellor. Shannon and her lawyer Anna Rodonic criticised the counsellor's decision as a fringe of the strict and comprehensive code of ethics which sidelines the conveying of confidential information to unwarranted persons; a gross breach of Shannon's confidentiality and bringing Shannon unnecessary harm ( Australian Government - Office of the Privacy Commissioner, 2008).
The counsellor in Shannon's scenarios did not follow the professional ethics which states that personal information should not leave the premises unless it is necessary. The counsellor should have notified Shannon of the breach that was made her personal information vulnerable and take the company's obligations under the Privacy Act to take reasonable steps to safeguard personal information (Australian Government - Office of the Privacy Commissioner, 2005).
The two cases of Sara and Shannon were major breaches of the professional code of conduct on client confidentiality and privacy. Both Shannon and Sara saw the extent to which the breaches could harm them. The counsellor in Shannon's case was to protect her right of information and the making open of the sexual health aswas demanded by Sara's insurer too was a breach of her privacy and confidentiality (Australian Government - Office of the Privacy Commissioner, 2001).
Permissible to Breach of Confidentiality or Privacy
Breaching with consent is usually the revelation of personal information to another party. Normally, this means that if a person openly agrees to give out his/her personal information on the basis that this information may later be provided to others. Consent is considered as normal and expected way in which personal information is conveyed to others. Appropriate consent should have a clear understanding of the circumstances and the context in which the information might be passed on to a third-party. Notification across relevant authorities with the consent of the person to whom the information relates is of course the most preferred option because it does not involve the need to supersede the person's interests in privacy and it also keeps away from the public interest argument. In addition, the law does not allow the practical relevance of consented release of privacy and confidentiality to the public. Moreover, in the event that consent is allowed, the concern party can rescind further limiting the value.
A person's confidentiality may not be absolute because in case of a persuasive public interest, it can beoverridden, but considerations must be made and public interest outweighs privacy release. In this case, each submission must be considered on its merits. For instance, the staff in the same organization must sendinformation about the privacy in question to the Director-General for approval and consideration. This is as required by section 62 KA and 62 Q. Of the Australian Privacy Act.
In provision of medical services where the doctors need to know the patient's health status for treatment purposes for the patient's benefit, more so when the patient is unconscious. Special emphasis is puton important health issues like genetic information, which should only be shared among family members (Wertz & Fletcher, 1989). Furthermore, practitioners must be get acquainted with the National Privacy Principles and contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for clarification purposes on the way the National Privacy Principles might relate to specific issues as they arise the work place.
A patient's privacy right can be violated in a case where a medical doctor is aware of a patient's HIV positive status, and a health care employee has been stripped to conditions where there is a real threat of transmission.
In addition, privacy can be violated when one believes on reasonable grounds that breach is necessary to prevent imminent threat to the life or health of the person alarmed or another person.
Protection from Unwanted and Unwarranted Breaches of Confidentiality or Privacy
There should be a well-designed procedure for demolishing unwanted or expanded records containing client confidential information, which may pose new challenges if carelessly exposed. While new technology and storage devices may also create greater risks of information leak, accessing these devices by unauthorized personnel staff.
Destroy information that is no longer needed because it may be used or made known to public or unauthorized persons. In addition, concern agencies should consider retention practices, subject to other important record-keeping requirements.
The organization and staffs should allow their clients access to their files upon request and within a recommended time length, unless forbidden by law, professional duties if access is not allowed, the firm should give a good reason to the client.
No one should be allowed to divide or adopt client unique identifiers without the consent of the client except as required by law or as compulsory for the provision of legal services. Moreover, client confidential information should never be transferred to another state or territory.
The organization need to create a position dealing majorly with client personal information security to prevent the unexpected violations. This position could have responsibility for instituting policy and ways, training staffs on the awareness of client's privacy and confidential, investigating and responding to such violations.
Furthermore, in seeking to prevent privacy violations, organizations should consider their other privacy compulsions in accordance with the relevant authorities. Some violations are reducible by limiting the gathering some particular type of client personal information or only keeping it for as long as it may be necessary.
Australian law and protection to clients
The Australian law of privacy protects persons under the current regulatory regime in regard to the breaches of their privacy and personal information. The health information is highly personal and…