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Physicians’ Knowledge, Perceptions, and Attitudes Related to Patient Confidentiality and Data Sharing

Authors Karasneh R, Al-Mistarehi AH, Al-Azzam S, Abuhammad S, Muflih SM, Hawamdeh S, Alzoubi KH

Received 13 January 2021

Accepted for publication 18 February 2021

Published 2 March 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 721—731


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Reema Karasneh,1 Abdel-Hameed Al-Mistarehi,2 Sayer Al-Azzam,3 Sawsan Abuhammad,4 Suhaib M Muflih,3 Sahar Hawamdeh,3 Karem H Alzoubi3,5

1Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan; 2Department of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan; 3Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan; 4Department of Maternal and Child Health, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, 22110, Jordan; 5Department of Pharmacy Practice and Pharmacotherapeutics, College of Pharmacy, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Correspondence: Reema Karasneh
Department of Basic Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine, Yarmouk University, P.O. Box 566, Irbid, 21163, Jordan
Tel +962 2 7211111 Ext 7141
Fax +962 2 7211162
Email [email protected]

Background: The protection of patient confidentiality is an essential practice for the successful provision of healthcare. This study examines physicians’ knowledge and attitudes related to data sharing and patient confidentiality.
Methods: This is a descriptive, questionnaire-based study. Physicians were invited via e-mail to complete the study survey. The survey comprised three sections related to knowledge, attitudes, and demographic characteristics.
Results: A total of 221 physicians, with varying levels of experience and from a range of specialty areas, completed the study survey. Ethical dilemmas were encountered annually by physicians specialized in family medicine and daily by physicians in internal medicine wards more often than those in other departments. The mean score for knowledge was 7.34 (out of 14; SD=2.92) and had a positive correlation with attitudes towards the protection of data confidentiality (r2=0.282, p< 0.001). Undergraduate courses were the main source of knowledge related to ethical issues (167; 74.9%). Sex (B=-1.47, p=0.001), marriage (B=-1.198, p=0.021), and source of consultation (B=-.248, p=0.02) were all found to predict knowledge scores. Likewise, attitudes were predicted by experience (B= 0.279, p< 0.001), sex (B= -2.797, p=0.002), marriage (B=1.91, p=0.02), and number of ethical dilemmas faced (B=1.695, p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Physicians from different departments were found to lack sufficient knowledge about many aspects of patient confidentiality. While some of the physicians’ practices complied with the law, other practices were identified as patient confidentiality breaches.

Keywords: confidentiality, physician, knowledge, attitudes, data sharing, ethical dilemma

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