ICD DIAGNOSTIC CODES AND THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF PATIENTS
Keywords:healthcare delivery systems, National Health Information System of South Africa, ICD-10 coding system, rights to privacy and dignity, doctor-patient confidentiality
The South African Department of Health has identified the need to improve the healthcare delivery systems within the country through the National Health Information System of South Africa. One of the mechanisms implemented is the ICD-10 coding system. This enables them to collect health information and to monitor the health status of the South African people. However, the implementation of the ICD-10 codes through the Medical Schemes Act is problematic, specifically as name-based data is collected, mostly without patients’ consent or consent obtained under duress. This information is used by medical aids to adopt policies to design medical aid
benefits. Apart from this potential disadvantage to patients, the coding system also impacts on doctor-patient confidentiality and the patients’ fundamental rights to privacy and dignity.
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