Ethics Conflicts in Rural Communities: Privacy and Confidentiality


Key Questions: What are some ethical challenges in rural communities? How do these challenges occur? How do we overcome these challenges?

This tool looks at the ethical challenges involving privacy and confidentiality in rural health care relationships, due to overlapping relationships and familiarity with patients and communities. Relationships between healthcare professionals and patients are generally long-term and personal relationships in rural settings. These relationships can expand to encompass groups of people in small communities. Trusting relationships in rural health care settings are enhanced by the familiarity common in rural living. In rural communities, residents know many of the details of each other’s lives, which can lead to confidentiality issues.


  • Case Studies
  • Overview of Ethics Issues
  • Case Discussions
  • Responding to Privacy and Confidentiality Conflicts
  • Anticipating Privacy and Confidentiality Concerns
  • Conclusion
  • References

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Capital Health Ethics Support Privacy and Confidentiality