Maintaining patient privacy

This section contains laws and instructions regarding maintenance of patients’ privacy:

  • Physical examination in private – Anyone who is examined is entitled to have an additional person present, a person of his/her choice or an employee, when the examination is being performed. Click here to view the Ministry of Health’s notice regarding the entitlement to have an additional person present during a physical examination (Hebrew).
  • The presence of a student during a medical examination – A patient has the right to refuse the presence of and/or examination by a student while the patient is receiving medical treatment. Click here to view the Ministry of Health’s notice regarding the right to refuse the presence of a student during a physical examination (Hebrew).
  • Transfer of medical information to parents regarding their children – The Ministry of Health has published precise instructions regarding when the second parent must be notified regarding a child’s treatment or when his/her consent must be requested. Click here to view the Ministry of Health’s notice regarding the transfer of medical information to parents (Hebrew).
 

Click here to view a comprehensive article on the topic of medical confidentiality (Hebrew).

 

A legal decision ruled that medical information about injured IDF veterans may not be transferred from the Ministry of Defense to the Clalit Health Plan. Click here to view the full legal decision (Hebrew).

 

Written Medical Confidentiality Waiver (Vasar)

The obligation to maintain confidentiality regarding the treatment given to the patient is the foundation upon which the patient’s trust in the doctor is based. The importance of this obligation is such that it has been codified in agreements, regulations and laws from the time of Maimonides and until the present day. Both the Privacy Protection Law and the Patient’s Rights Law require guarding medical information. These laws are applicable for anyone treating a patient and not solely for doctors. The importance for these rules is clear; it is not necessary to emphasize, for example, the damage that might be done to an individual in certain communities if knowledge of her having an abortion was publicly known or if the facts of a businessman’s illness were known to his associates.
 

The Patient’s Rights Law distinctly establishes the obligation for medical confidentiality and only permits transfer of information to a third party in the follow circumstances:

  • The information is given to a different caregiver for continuation of treatment.
  • Research purposes (in accordance with Helsinki regulations).
  • In accordance with different regulatory requirements (i.e. transfer of information to the Ministry of the Interior for purposes of issuing a firearm license; transfer of information to the National Cancer Registry; notification of infectious diseases, etc.).
  • When the patient has agreed to waive the privilege by signing a “Written Medical Confidentiality Waiver (Vasar)”.
 

Take caution when signing a “Written Medical Confidentiality Waiver (Vasar)”, as it means the following: 

  • The signer waives his/her right to medical confidentiality without a time limit;
  • There is no nominal limit on who is permitted to view the information and therefore any employee of the organization that receives the information can view the medical file sent to the organization;
  • The party that receives the “Written Medical Confidentiality Waiver” can view all of the signer’s medical records whether they are relevant or not to the claim/issue at hand.

 

Where possible, it is recommended to do the following if signing a waiver:

  1. Limit the scope of the waiver – Is there need for a general confidentiality waiver, which is a waiver including all medical issues, or is a limited waiver possible (for a specific medical topic and/or for specific purpose use).
  2. Limit the period in which the waiver will be effective – It is important that a confidentiality waiver will be time-limited (for example, until a specific date or until the conclusion of the task for which the medical confidentiality waiver is required).
  3. Give limited authorization for transfer of information to a specific individual or position holder – If it is possible to limit the authorization as such that the waiver will only be valid for a specific individual or position holder and not for an entire body, authority or company, because then the waiver is valid for everyone in that body (for example, regarding an insurance company, it is important to ensure that the confidentiality waiver will only be valid for doctors, lawyers or specific people/position holders that work for the insurance company).

 

  

 

 

 

Translated by The Shira Pransky Project