Protecting your privacy may seem like a minor matter to some, but when it comes to confidential medical records, breaches of privacy are often quite serious. In today's increasingly connected world, it is easier than ever to share information, and harder than ever to keep our personal information secure.
This is especially true when it comes to medical records. For most patients, the advances in collating and sharing medical records between care providers is a crucial part of maintaining good health or fighting an ailment, but what if someone improperly discloses your sensitive medical records? What steps can you take to fight back against it once the cat is out of the bag?
While you may not be able to undo the error itself, depending on the circumstances there are measures you can take to retrieve your records and seek fair compensation for harm that the disclosure causes. A strong legal strategy can help you understand the options you have available and act quickly to protect your rights and ongoing privacy.
Address the disclosure directly
The first thing to do when you learn that some party improperly disclosed your medical records is to address the issue with them directly. In many cases, the person who made the disclosure is motivated to do anything they can to clean up the mess, and may go to great lengths to help you recover the records and halt any other complications.
This may involve the party that made the mistake reaching out to the recipient of the records and instructing them to destroy the records or return them.
If the disclosing party is not willing to acknowledge the issue or help undo the harm, then you should report the incident to the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS. The HHS oversees medical record privacy, and may significantly punish the party that made the disclosure.
Suing for damages
Depending on the consequences of the disclosure and the harm it causes you, you may have grounds to sue for fair compensation. Just like other forms of medical malpractice, medical record disclosure is a serious breach of trust and may have far-reaching implications in your life.
Building a lawsuit around such a breach of trust is not a simple thing, so make sure that you have a strong understanding of the legal issues at hand, to ensure that your rights remain secure while you fight to protect yourself from future violations of your right to privacy.