Preprint Review Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

A Review of the Patients’ Right of Confidentiality under the Saudi Arabian Laws

Version 1 : Received: 21 August 2019 / Approved: 22 August 2019 / Online: 22 August 2019 (10:50:10 CEST)

How to cite: Elgujja, A.; Arimoro, A. A Review of the Patients’ Right of Confidentiality under the Saudi Arabian Laws. Preprints 2019, 2019080231 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201908.0231.v1). Elgujja, A.; Arimoro, A. A Review of the Patients’ Right of Confidentiality under the Saudi Arabian Laws. Preprints 2019, 2019080231 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201908.0231.v1).

Abstract

The concept of patient confidentiality is nearly as old as the practice of health professions and, has evolved and transformed over the years, from one jurisdiction to the other. Patient confidentiality can be a fundamental human right, an ethical duty or, a legal duty. The Saudi laws have evolved around its Shari’ah-based legal culture, its history and the international human right laws (IHRLs). These elements have moulded the Saudi Arabia’s unique perspective on patient confidentiality. Its confidentiality laws are found scattered in several legislations. Is the Saudi patient confidentiality law able to adequately deal with the contemporary challenges? The study reviewed the relevant Saudi laws in the light the International Humana Rights Laws. Findings suggest that there are issues bordering on the lack of quality comprehensive data protection laws, on clarity and foreseeability of the existing laws, and on the accessibility of the courts. Furthermore, the lack of a system of law reporting and stare decisis potentially gave the judges a wider latitude of discretion in interpreting the laws. Therefore, the study recommends for a comprehensive data protection law with a clear definition of “confidential information”, of data controllers and their role, and of specific safeguards against potential abuses. Others include defining legitimate purposes for using the patient’s data, and his role, and the extent to which he can control the use of his own data. Consistency in legal interpretations, and an improved law reporting system could positively enhance the overall outcome.

Subject Areas

patient confidentiality; privacy; data protection; Saudi Arabia

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