Biomedical Research

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Protection of privacy and confidentiality as a patient right: physicians' and nurses' viewpoints

The purpose of patient rights, as a basic component of human rights, is to support patients and to strengthen them in social terms. The right to privacy and confidentiality, initially dealt with as a part of personal rights, has become a right in its own way over time, and is now recognized and guaranteed by many constitutions, laws, and international conventions. A cross-sectional survey was conducted on health care professionals at the Training and Research Hospital of the Faculty of Medicine of Eskisehir Osmangazi University in Eski?ehir, Turkey, in April, May and June in 2010 with the aim of determining health care professionals' (physicians' and nurses') attitudes towards the right to privacy and confidentiality of private life, which are important components of patient rights. The research data were collected through a questionnaire. The sample of the study consists of 174 nurses and 183 physicians. In this sample, 71 (40.8%) nurses and 49 (26.8%) physicians reported that they were informed about patient rights. 112 (64.4%) nurses and 103 (56.3%) physicians strongly agreed with the protection of privacy, and 90 (51.7%) nurses and 97 (53%) physicians strongly agreed with the confidentiality of information related to patients, as a patient right. Therefore, with a view to protecting and implementing patient rights, it is required to inform and raise awareness of health care professionals about patient rights, legal responsibilities of patients and health care professionals, and communication techniques.

Author(s): Nilüfer Demirsoy, Nurdan Kirimlioglu