Confidentiality is a crucial problem in the healthcare market. A person's case history can be an effective weapon in the wrong hands, not to mention a possible source of personal embarrassment. Clients may be reluctant to share personal details with their physicians if they think that details will end up being public knowledge. Any breach in trust can seriously obstruct a physician's ability to provide appropriate health care services.

To safeguard doctor-patient privacy, the federal government, in addition to the states, have enacted a number of extensive patient privacy laws. The American Medical Association has its own code of ethics it expects physicians and other healthcare suppliers to follow relating to patient privacy.

Although they're not licensed like physicians, medical assistants are required to follow these exact same patient privacy guidelines. Failing to do so can not only harm the vulnerable doctor-patient relationship, however it can endanger the medical assistant's occupation as well.

Here are some ways medical assistants can safeguard their clients' personal privacy both inside and outside the workplace:.

While in the office, only describe a patient by his/her first name.

Just talk about medical concerns behind closed doors.

Always bring patient graphes and various other medical files in ways that doesn't show the client's name.

Do not "shoulder browse"-- look over a coworker's shoulder to peek at patient information.

Never leave patient plans in places other than the appropriate receptacles. If you make a note that isn't part of the main patient record, such as writing a phone number, destroy it as soon as possible.

Always follow the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) guidelines for shredding and disposing of Protected Health Information (PHI).

Never ever bring patient details out of the office unless it's part of your task.

Above all, never ever discuss patient cases or expose names when chatting with family and friends. What happens at the office stays in the workplace.

Always keep in mind, as a medical assistant, you are the face of your practice. You're most likely the first person a patient encounters throughout a go to, and the first person in whom the client is expected to trust. Your main task is to make each patient feel comfy, safe and at ease. Seeing to it to protect specific personal privacy can go a long way toward attaining this goal.

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