Re-evaluating confidentiality: using patient information in teaching and publications

Heather Draper*, Wendy Rogers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Case studies used in psychiatry for teachng and learning can include large amounts of personal information, and most medical journals refuse to publish case material withou patient consent. However, not all patients are capable of consenting and maintaining anonymity is not always successful. Disclosure of personal information without consent can cause a sense of violation, but a principle of non-violation rigorously applied would prohibit the use of such material without consent, even if the patient is completely unidentifiable. A public interest argumnet can be made for using patient information for teaching purposes. Furthermore, a limited case can be made for using, and even publishing, some cases without consent, e.g. those requiring urgent public discussion or concerning people who are incapable of giving consent. Thus, an argument can be put forward for relaxing to this limited degree the demand for patient consent to publish case material.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-124
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Psychiatric Treatment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


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