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I'm just curious if it's legal for a healthcare professional to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in order to hide certain things from their patient? And also, if the patient asks the healthcare professional whether or not they signed an NDA, is the healthcare professional obligated in any way to disclose that s/he signed an NDA (just not disclosing what's stipulated in the NDA)? (hopefully this makes sense.)

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    Did you have a jurisdiction in mind? Jul 30, 2021 at 14:30
  • Denver, Colorado (also, if you keep in mind maybe any possible loopholes afforded by things like the Patriot Act for various gov't entities to circumnavigate the regular channels of law). Jul 30, 2021 at 14:38
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    What "certain things" are you referring to?
    – user35069
    Jul 30, 2021 at 14:51
  • E.g. Don't have to get into details; no need to complicate things. (maybe I should've stated my question better; my bad). Just, giving you a false diagnoses based on them signing the NDA -that's all. Jul 30, 2021 at 14:54
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    You can't contract for something illegal. A "can't disclose cancer patients that they have cancer" is illegal.
    – Trish
    Jul 30, 2021 at 15:23

2 Answers 2

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In general, as mentioned in the answers to this question an NDA may not require a person to take any illegal action (nor may any other contract. That would include, as the answer by user6726 says, failing to provide the patient's full medical record. In the US, disclosing this is mandated by the HIPPA law, with very limited exceptions.

Beyond that, it would be highly unethical for any healthcare provider to knowingly give a patient a misleading or incorrect impression of that patient's health status or diagnosis, or other medical information, even if the HIPPA requirements are not triggered. Any NDA which required a healthcare provider (whether doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, technician, or other role) to give such misleading medical information or omit information when such omission would result in misleading the patient would be unethical, would probably be void as being against public policy, nd might well be a violation of specific laws.

However, an NDA could validly apply to other things, such as the office's billing policy, its insurance agreements, its financial and personnel details, and other things not related to the patient's medical condition.

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  • Thank you for the answer, David. Just what I was looking for. Jul 30, 2021 at 18:18
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It would be legal for a healthcare professional to sign an NDA prohibiting them from revealing certain information to a patient. Some examples: the password to the computer system; the home phone number and address of the chief of staff. It would not be legal to use an NDA as a basis for denying a patient the right to access their medical records when the HIPAA privacy rule mandates disclosure to the patient (with exceptions).

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