Heather Draper, Wendy A. Rogers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary/reference book


“Confidentiality” refers to the duty not to disclose private information to other people. It is often associated with healthcare professionals’ duty to safeguard patient information, but confidentiality extends to all personal information provided in circumstances or relationships which imply that the information will not be disclosed to others. In some relationships the duty to maintain confidentiality is regarded as absolute (priests in the confessional, for example). In others, although the duty is a strong one, it is not absolute and some disclosures may be required (e.g., by law) or justified with reference to other duties (e.g., protection of the public interest). This essay will concentrate on confidentiality as it applies to healthcare practice. It will look at why there is a duty, various justifications for breaking confidentiality, and difficult cases.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational encyclopedia of ethics
EditorsHugh LaFollette
Place of PublicationChichester, West Sussex
PublisherWiley-Blackwell, Wiley
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781444367072
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • autonomy
  • bioethics
  • Children
  • conflict of interest
  • duty and obligation
  • privacy
  • research
  • respect
  • responsibility

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