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Dutch Health Care Inspectorate (IGZ) abuses its inspection authority in patient files

Dutch Health Care Inspectorate (IGZ) abuses its inspection authority in patient files

Nederlands Tijdschrift Voor Geneeskunde 158: A7845

For its investigation regarding the transfer of data after discharge of vulnerable elderly patients from hospital to nursing homes, care homes or home care, the Dutch Health Care Inspectorate (IGZ) demands access to patients' files, without their explicit consent. Doctors who do not cooperate run the risk of penalty payments. Since it concerns a limited number of patients per practice, it would not be unreasonably onerous for the Inspectorate to allow doctors to ask their patients' consent. Other reasons mentioned by the Inspectorate, such as possible "inappropriate correction" of data and the capability of vulnerable elderly patients to give their consent seem improper grounds to breach patients' right to privacy and to demand that doctors breach professional confidentiality. The legality of the Inspectorate's actions could be addressed in a test case and should be discussed more widely in light of the Inspectorate's work plan for 2014.

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Accession: 052731641

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PMID: 24893819

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