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Each time a patient visits a doctor; is admitted to a hospital; goes to a pharmacist; or sends a claim to a health plan, a record is made of their confidential health information. In the past, family doctors and other health care providers protected the confidentiality of those records by sealing them away in file cabinets and refusing to reveal them to anyone else. Today, the use and disclosure of this information is protected by a patchwork of state laws, thereby leaving gaps in the protection of patients’ privacy and confidentiality.

Respond to the following questions:

  • Do confidentiality and security play a role in providing effective protection to patients’ information? Why or why not? Justify your views using examples.
  • How will you use these concepts to protect health information?

Justify your answers with appropriate research and reasoning by using examples and references from textbooks, the South University Online Library, and other acceptable references. Cite sources in the APA format. Further, comment on the postings of at least two peers.

Part II: Legal and Ethical Issues

Each state has statutes that govern the practice of medicine in that state. These are called medical practice acts and are meant to protect the health and safety of the public (Fremgen, 2012). Each state legislature establishes a state medical board that has the authority to control the licensing of physicians. While some slight differences exist from state to state, in general, these practice acts define who must be licensed to perform certain procedures (Fremgen, 2012). These acts also specify requirements for licensure; the duties of the licensed physician; grounds on which the license may be revoked or taken away; and reports that must be made to the government or other appropriate agencies (Fremgen 2012).

When healthcare workers hold patients’ lives in their hands, they must know the right thing to do when complications arise (Aiken, 2009). Most healthcare training focuses on what steps should be taken when medical emergencies or clinically related problems arise (e.g., apply pressure to stop bleeding).

In addition to clinical and medical complications, healthcare professionals must also deal with complicated ethical dilemmas (Aiken, 2009). For example, if a person who is bleeding is HIV positive, or if someone did not want heroic measures taken to save his or her life, should rescue breathing be started? These are ethical dilemmas, and the healthcare worker entrusted with the well-being of patients must know or be able to discern the right and the wrong thing to do. Ethics helps determine the right thing to do in the case of a moral dilemma (Aiken, 2009).

Accordingly, respond to the following:

  • What are the legal and ethical issues that patients, health care providers, and the society face? Compare and contrast using examples.
  • As a health care professional, suggest ways to handle these issues.

Justify your answers with appropriate research and reasoning by using examples and references from textbooks, the South University Online Library, and other acceptable references. Cite sources in the APA format. Further, comment on the postings of at least two peers.


Fremgen, B. (2012). Medical law and ethics. (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Prentice

Aiken, T. (2009). Legal and ethical issues in health occupations. (2nd ed.). St. Louis, MO: Saunders.

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