Medical Student Secrecy, its Link to the Duty of Confidentiality and the Right to Access and Reuse Health Information

Rui Guimarães, Miguel Guimarães, Nuno Sousa, Maria Amélia Ferreira


The authors address the legal void that exists regarding medical student access to clinical records and health information that local healthcare organizations hold under legal and institutional custody. They develop a legal thesis that configures the creation of medical student professional secrecy and its connection with the duty of confidentiality as assumptions that underlie the medical student’s right to access and reuse health information. Medical students have the legitimacy to access health information and clinical records, as they bear an unequivocal informational, legitimate, constitutionally protected and sufficiently relevant need. They conclude that the legislature must work together with universities and hospital institutions to legally establish the concept of Medical Student Professional Secrecy, its link to the duty of confidentiality and the right of the medical student to access and reuse health information. Furthermore, it must do so in a specific legal act and in the precise terms of the text approved unanimously by the Council of Portuguese Medical Schools, by the National Council of Medical Ethics and Deontology, by the National Council of the Portuguese Medical Association and by its President.


Access to Information/legislation & jurisprudence; Confidentiality; Education, Medical, Undergraduate; Electronic Health Records; Medical Records; Portugal; Students, Medical


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