“Whatever, in connection with my professional service, or not in connection with it, I see or hear, in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret.”
—Confidentiality excerpt from the Hippocratic Oath (as cited in Croll, 2010)
Traditional schools of medicine have a ritual of reciting oath excerpts such as the one above during their graduation ceremonies. Such excerpts usually revolve around a professional’s promise to uphold the ideals of patient safety and confidentiality to the best of his or her ability.
With the continued integration of Health Information Technology (HIT), and advances in technology such as hand-held computers, new ethical considerations have evolved within health care settings. For example, wireless capabilities can provide easier access to information from unauthorized outside parties. While technological advances have led to improvements in health care, they have also created new vulnerabilities. Doctorally prepared nurses need to be aware of ethical issues surrounding the use of patient information, technology, and the respective liabilities.