Patients' Rights And Responsibilities

Guard Your Patients' Rights, But Also Take Responsibility For Your Health Care

When you enter into a patient/doctor relationship: what are your rights as a patient? On the flip side: what are your responsibilities? You may be concerned about the former, but the latter may not be a concept that you've often thought about. As a patient, you absolutely have certain rights that you should expect from your healthcare providers, but you also have some responsibilities that you need to meet.

With conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the rights of privacy and respect are very important but are unfortunately not always a given. IBD patients may struggle with personal compliance: not everyone is able to follow their treatment plan effectively. This could be for a variety of reasons, including dissatisfaction with treatment options and frustration with healthcare providers. The following articles will help you to better understand how patient privacy and responsibility go hand-in-hand in the healthcare setting, and how you can expect privacy and meet responsibilities.

Your Rights As A Patient

Patients have certain rights that are indisputable, such as the rights to privacy, respect, informed consent, and to refuse treatment. The Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPPA) of 1996 was passed to protect your healthcare information, yet certain parties are still legally allowed to access your medical records. Many people mistakenly believe they are not legally allowed to refuse treatment, especially in the hospital setting, but refusing treatment (including medications and even surgery) is a patient right. Learn more about your rights as a patient.

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Your Responsibilities As A Patient

The healthcare system is a two-way street: patients have certain rights they can expect to be respected, but patients must also accept a certain amount of responsibility for their own care. After all, we as patients are ultimately responsible for our bodies and we owe it to ourselves to treat them with respect. Patients are responsible for being honest with healthcare providers, for complying with the agreed-upon treatment, for treating healthcare providers and staff with respect, and (yes!) paying for services rendered as agreed. This article will help you better understand your responsibilities as a patient.

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Patient Compliance

It's true that patients with IBD are unfortunately not known for their compliance with treatment plans. There are reasons for this, such as concerns about side effects of medications, but that doesn't release patients from responsibility. If you've agreed upon a treatment plan with your healthcare providers, you should be able to follow through with it to the best of your abilities. If you're unable to do so, then you should make your physician aware so that a new treatment plan can be devised. Find out more about how compliance affects your treatment plan.

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Holes in Patients' Rights To Be Aware Of

In the United States we are fortunate to have certain rights guaranteed us by law, but there are some rights that we do not have. We do not have the right to receive healthcare at all, although there are some exceptions. HIPAA protects patient privacy to a certain extent, but some parties still have access to medical records (when there is a need). Read this article to find out more about the rights you don't yet have.

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Jackson CA, Clatworthy J, Robinson A, Horne R. "Factors Associated With Non-Adherence to Oral Medication for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Systematic Review." Amer J Gastroenterol March 2010; 105:525-539. 20 Jul 2010.

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