Collections > UNC Scholarly Publications > Article > Balancing between two goods: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and ethical compliancy considerations for privacy-sensitive materials in health sciences archival and historical special collections

Objective: The investigation provides recommendations for establishing institutional collection guidelines and policies that protect the integrity of the historical record, while upholding the privacy and confidentiality of those who are protected by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or professional ethical standards. Methods: The authors completed a systematic historical investigation of the concepts of collection integrity, privacy, and confidentiality in the formal and informal legal and professional ethics literature and applied these standards to create best practices for institutional policies in these areas. Results: Through an in-depth examination of the historical concepts of privacy and confidentiality in the legal and professional ethics literature, the authors were able to create recommendations that would allow institutions to provide access to important, yet sensitive, materials, while complying with the standards set by HIPAA regulations and professional ethical expectations. Conclusion: With thoughtful planning, it is possible to balance the integrity of and access to the historical record of sensitive documents, while supporting the privacy protections of HIPAA and professional ethical standards. Although it is theorized that collection development polices of institutions have changed due to HIPAA legislation, additional research is suggested to see how various legal interpretations have affected the integrity of the historical record in actuality.