Health information is one of the most sensitive types of information we can entrust to others, and we assume that all health information disclosed will remain confidential.
Federal and state privacy laws have been enacted to ensure that, when you deal with public departments and private companies, you are not obliged to disclose health information unless it is absolutely necessary to the function of the organisation requesting the information.
If you are asked to disclose sensitive health information and you think that the request is intrusive, you have the right to be told why the information is necessary and what function it will serve.
If you don’t think the information is necessary, or if you feel the information has been misused, you can lodge a complaint using the free legal complaints processes set up under the federal and state privacy laws (see ‘How can I make a complaint?’).
If you want information about aspects of privacy law other than health privacy, check out the relevant websites listed in the ‘Resources’ section.
Next Section: What laws protect my health information?