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Patient-Physician Confidentiality

The WSMA believes the information disclosed to a physician during the course of the relationship between physician and patient is confidential to the greatest possible degree. The physician should not reveal confidential communications or information without the express consent of the patient, unless required to do so by law.

The WSMA affirms that the physician obligation to safeguard patient confidences is subject to certain exceptions because of overriding social considerations. Where a patient threatens to inflict bodily harm to another person and there is reasonable probability that the patient may carry out the threat, the physician should take reasonable precautions for the protection of the intended victim, including notification of law enforcement authorities. (Reaffirmed A-17)

Return to the WSMA Policy Compendium index

Abbreviations for House of Delegates report origination:

EC – Executive Committee; BT – Board of Trustees; CPA – Council on Professional Affairs; JC – Judicial Council; CHS – Community and Health Services

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