Q:

Why is confidentiality important?

A:

Confidentiality is important to maintain privacy, security and trust in personal and professional relationships. Confidentiality is valued and expected in any situation where sensitive information is accessed or shared. Breaking the rules of confidentiality by releasing private information to the wrong entity can cause discord, broken trust and even lawsuits between parties.

According to University of Washington School of Medicine, “Confidentiality is one of the core duties of medical practice”. Medical professionals on all levels to maintain confidentiality for patients. Patients are more likely to trust and divulge personal information to their doctor if they believe he can maintain privacy. In rare cases, a medical provider can break a confidentiality agreement with the permission of the patient, or when required by law.

In the business world, maintaining confidentiality is necessary to comply with ethical and legal regulations. According to the Society for Human Resources Management, “Every organization has a need to keep certain information confidential.” Businesses are expected to keep employee, client and company records private to protect and secure sensitive data. Upholding confidentiality can help keep information out of unethical hands. An employee who leaks vital information to a competitor can debilitate a company. Many people unknowingly sign over their confidentiality and privacy rights when they obtain access to websites that purposefully collect, trade and sell personal information. Taking action against companies in every industry that misuse personal information will remain a concern for many in the digital age.


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