Careful consideration of the ethical implications is required before patient information should be shared without the patient's knowledge.
Routine and apparently uncontroversial releases of information can be perceived as problematic by patients.
The ethics of such "ordinary" breaches of confidence can be explored by considering the patient's autonomy, the patient's best interests, and the public interest in preserving or breaching confidentiality.
Patient autonomy can be supported and ethical problems may be avoided when patients are given as much information as possible about foreseeable information disclosures.
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