We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Different Types of Confidentiality Guidelines?

By P. Schroeder
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
MyLawQuestions is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At MyLawQuestions, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

There are several types of confidentiality guidelines. There are those that set the basis for doctor-patient, attorney-client and religious official-confessor relationships. Confidentiality agreements, nondisclosure agreements and the confidentiality of school records are other areas regulated by confidentiality guidelines. In addition, there can be national and local confidentiality guidelines that protect the confidentiality of things such as drug and alcohol treatment information and information regarding human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and immunizations.

In the medical area, there are very strict confidentiality guidelines. There is doctor-patient confidentiality, which has its roots in the laws of Hippocrates; and doctor-patient privilege, a legal concept that gives doctors the right to withhold evidence and refuse to disclose information regarding their patient. Confidentiality of this type is based on the premise that patients should be able to share information about their conditions without fearing that it will be disclosed to others. There are a few exceptions to this rule, including when the safety of others is at risk. Confidentiality guidelines typically continue to apply even after the person is no longer a patient of that doctor.

Some laws, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 in the United States, protect medical information of all kinds from disclosure. Violations carry substantial civil and criminal penalties. There also are laws that protect the privacy rights of people who have HIV and those who seek alcohol or drug treatment. In many other countries, there are confidentiality guidelines that protect the health records of patients.

Attorney-client confidentiality, like that between the patient and doctor, is very strict and includes both confidentiality and privilege. In general, in the absence of the client’s consent, the lawyer must not reveal information regarding his or her representation. This extends to all information discussed with the lawyer. A violation can lead to disciplinary action from a regulatory body that oversees legal practices.

The attorney-client privilege comes from common law and the laws of each jurisdiction. It protects from disclosure any information given to the lawyer pertaining to the case at hand. There are a few exceptions to this rule that dictate when a lawyer has some obligation to report to authorities, including when there is a credible threat against another individual. Confidentiality generally ends with the death of the client.

The confidentiality guidelines for the relationship between a religious official and confessor are similar to both physician-patient and attorney-client confidentiality. Furthermore, that confidentiality typically is forever, even if the person confesses to murder. Even in religious canons, however, there often is a loophole when another person’s life is in danger from molestation or death. The religious official might repeat the confession to his superior, and that person might decide whether to disclose the information.

Some of the other confidentiality guidelines, including those pertaining to nondisclosure agreements and school records, are much more open to interpretation. Nondisclosure agreements can be used in many instances, but most often, they are utilized to protect a business interest where one or both parties are receiving confidential information that cannot be shared with others. The validity of this nondisclosure agreement depends heavily on the location where the agreement is in force. Furthermore, these agreements, most often depending on the length of time they are intended to exist, have been argued against successfully in court.

Another area of confidentiality has to do with school and student records. There are several privacy issues raised in the school arena, and the laws typically ensure that parents have access to their children’s records, and that the confidentiality of those records remains in place without the parent’s express consent. Records, however, can be disclosed to other school officials without consent. Students also are often able to see each other's test results or even grade each other's tests under the direction of a teacher.

MyLawQuestions is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

MyLawQuestions, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

MyLawQuestions, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.