A Comparative Study of the Right of Patients in Having Access to Their Psychological and Psychiatric Medical Records

Original Article | Pages: 14 - 35
  • Faezeh Daneshvar - PhD of Public Law, Faculty of Law, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran [faezehdaneshvar@gmail.com]

Abstract

Background: The purpose of the article was to explain the right of the clients in psychiatric and psychological centers to have access to their medical records.

Methods: In this regard, the views of the legal systems of Iran, England, Canada and Australia in relation to the foregoing right were reviewed and compared.

Results: The findings of this study indicate that this right is generally accepted in the legal systems of England, Canada and Australia. However, the right is not absolute in any of the legal systems referred to, and the disclosure of case information if prohibited by law or in case of being a serious threat to the physical and mental health of the client, is not allowed.On the other hand, in this study, in order to clarify the right of access to psychological record from the perspective of Iranian legal system, a distinction was made between two different categories of psychological records (Information provided by the authorities and therapist's diagnosis) as well as three categories of clients in psychological centers (Individuals without special mental disorder, neurotic patients and psychotic patients). Based on the categorizations and distinctions, it was found that the right of access to information in individuals without special mental disorders as well as neurotic patients is preserved in the legal system of Iran with some exceptions.

Conclusion: However, national laws and regulations with respect to access of psychotic patients or their guardians to their treatment record are silent. Given the significant legal impact of certain mental illnesses, it is necessary to address this shortcoming, taking into account the patient's rights and the interests of the society.

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Citation

Daneshvar F. [A Comparative Study of the Right of Patients in Having Access to Their Psychological and Psychiatric Medical Records]. Iran J Biomed Law Ethics. 2019;1(1):14-35. Persian.