Balancing Between Two Goods: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Ethical Compliancy Considerations for Privacy-Sensitive Materials in Health Sciences Archival and Historical Special Collections (Report)

Balancing Between Two Goods: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Ethical Compliancy Considerations for Privacy-Sensitive Materials in Health Sciences Archival and Historical Special Collections (Report)

INTRODUCTION Special collections professionals in institutions with health sciences history collections balance on a legal and ethical tightrope of preserving and providing access to the historical record, while at the same time respecting the confidences of those whose lives are reflected in the records. Although a great deal of information is available on the topics of privacy and the ethical responsibility of the archivist to the historical record, there is little formal information on how to reconcile these two distinct professional responsibilities when providing access to collections. These issues and responsibilities can come up for any librarian in a health sciences setting, such as a hospital librarian who is given or acquires old medical records. This article is a synthesis of the information available on these two subjects with the goal of making recommendations that balance protecting the future historical record and collection integrity with guarding the privacy of those who are protected by the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Balancing Between Two Goods: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Ethical Compliancy Considerations for Privacy-Sensitive Materials in Health Sciences Archival and Historical Special Collections (Report)

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