Comments on privacy and medicine

J Legal Stud. 2001 Jun;30(2):703-7. doi: 10.1086/342029.


The ease of access to medical data on the one hand and the privacy rights of the individual on the other coexist in a delicate balance. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully consider the trade-offs between the two. One approach might be to consider the nature of possible violations of privacy and determine the costs and benefits of avoiding those violations. Not all violations are equally dangerous. Moreover, some violations of privacy are sanctioned by policy (for example, preexisting medical conditions). Society needs to be careful to distinguish between these kinds of privacy issues and those that require technical solutions. Technical solutions tend to be expensive and can create other dangers by impeding access to important medical information.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information
  • Confidentiality* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized
  • Privacy* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Risk Assessment