Privacy: Patient Safety Outweighs Patient Privacy Regarding Controlled-Substances Prescribing Practices, California High Court Rules

October 16, 2017 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​In a recent case, the California Supreme Court weighed the right of patient privacy against the public interest in protecting against dangerous controlled-substances prescribing practices. The court concluded that the state's medical board did not violate patients' privacy rights under the California constitution. In the course of investigating a physician, the board obtained patient data from the state's controlled-substances prescription-monitoring program without the patients' knowledge or consent and without obtaining a warrant or subpoena. The ruling terminated a lawsuit that a physician brought against the state medical board claiming that the board's action in obtaining his patients' prescription data in the course of an investigation violated their rights to privacy.

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