Physicians Knowledge and Attitude Towards Patient Confidentiality and Data Sharing: A Cross-Sectional Study


  • Lubna Wisam Abdul Lateef
  • Huda Adnan AL-Mausawie Family Medicine Consultant M.B.Ch.B / F.I.C.M.S-F.M University of Baghdad / Al-Kindy College of Medicine


Physician, patients, confidentiality, knowledge, attitude, Iraq


Background: The physician-patient relationship has long been linked with a special ethos of confidentiality.
It is one of the most important aspect in any medical specialty, it promises patients' trust in the health system.
Healthcare workers in general, and doctors in particular, must to be knowledgeable about patients' rights.
Aim of study: To examine practicing physicians’ knowledge and attitudes related to different aspects of
patient confidentiality and data sharing.
Subjects and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study with analytic component conducted in two teaching
hospitals and six Primary Health Care Centers in Baghdad during a period of 10 months from 1st of February
to 1st of December 2023. It included 253 physicians. Data collected by a questionnaire with three parts:
Socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge about data sharing and confidentiality, and attitudes towards
patient confidentiality and data sharing).
Results: In this study, 52.5% of participants had fair knowledge towards patient confidentiality and 19%
were with poor knowledge. Rates of good knowledge were signific+antly higher in female physicians,
physicians who had board certificate, and those who received training on medical ethics. Regarding
physicians’ attitude towards patient confidentiality, 79.9% were found to have a positive attitude 20.1% had
negative attitude. Having board degree, having contact with > 40 patients per day, and taking training on
medical ethics were significant factors associated with positive attitude of physicians towards patient
Conclusion: The majority of participants showed fair level of knowledge and positive attitude towards
patient confidentiality. The most important modifiable factors that may increase the level of knowledge and
attitude were getting higher level of education (board certificate) and taking training on medical ethics


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