Patient privacy


Fam Pract Manag. 2001 Apr;8(4):13.

To the Editor:

I was disturbed to see a full patient name mentioned in “Professional Courtesy” [Practice Diary, January 2001, page 61]. After reflection, I concluded that the editorial process of FPM would not allow an actual patient's name to be printed, so it must have been a pseudonym. However, without a specific explanation in the article or footnotes, the reader is left to ponder: Is the name a pseudonym, a name printed with prior patient consent or a confidentiality misstep?

As family physicians concerned about the welfare of our patients, we should emphasize the importance of patient privacy in all of our written communications.

Editor's note: We would never intentionally publish a patient's name, and the name used in Practice Diary was indeed a pseudonym. Your point is well taken, though, and Practice Diary now includes a note explaining that patient names are changed.


Send your comments to fpmedit@aafp.org. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting AAFP permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. We cannot respond to all letters we receive. Those chosen for publication will be edited for length and style.


Copyright © 2001 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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