Privacy versus care--The shifting balance in mental health.
Maine Behavioral Health, Vocational Services, Marketing and Communications, Integrated Programs
Families, systems & health : the journal of collaborative family healthcare
Confidentiality, Continuity of Patient Care, Hospital Mortality, Humans, Medical Errors, Mental Disorders
Mental health professionals are now debating client confidentiality and its relationship to care coordination. History tells us there is a need to protect the privacy of people who are diagnosed with mental health issues in a world filled with stigma and misperceptions. People with mental illness and substance use problems may be legitimately concerned that employers, insurance companies, financial institutions, medical practices, and educational institutions could use their health information to discriminate against them, often without their knowledge. The protection of jobs and health information is a real, justifiable benefit of privacy legislation. However, there are also a host of negative consequences, including fragmented health care, lack of prevention, uninformed families, and even early death, because of a lack of coordination with medical treatment. The legal situation can be very confusing, but the upshot is that we are shifting from an environment of strict confidentiality to one of better care coordination. In short, we are moving toward a system that allows for better coordination because it improves the quality of care for our clients. At the policy level, we must lead the change process and actively support the revision and reinterpretation of existing laws and regulations. These changes will require earning the trust of the people being served. Many are wary, and some even scared, of their perceived loss of privacy. Health-care professionals must commit to the concept of coordinating care, making communication about shared care plans a priority.
Mork, Mary Jean; Price, Steven; and Best, Kathryn, "Privacy versus care--The shifting balance in mental health." (2016). Maine Medical Center. 727.