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Protecting Your Privacy

Patients who give information about themselves or their families to the doctors and other workers in a hospital expect the information to be kept confidential. We will do this to the best of our ability. However, you should be aware that neither The Rockefeller University Hospital nor any other medical institution can guarantee absolute confidentiality.

The collection, maintenance, and use of patient information in medical records or other data storage systems at The Rockefeller University Hospital are governed by the Privacy Act of 1974, the Freedom of Information Act, and the Public Health Service Act. These laws put strict limits on how hospitals may use and disclose personal information, including medical information. It requires every hospital to inform each individual why he or she is asked for information and how it will be used.

Consistent with these laws and regulations, employees of The Rockefeller University Hospital may have access to any information necessary to perform their assigned duties.

Although data from the studies in which you participate may be used widely in medical research, information about you as an individual is confidential. Generally, access to this information is restricted to The Rockefeller University Hospital staff involved in the patient care and research programs, but under certain circumstances government agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration may also need to review the data. At your request, we will also provide information to your doctor or other physicians or organizations you specify.

The medical and other personal information you are asked to give, as well as the information from various tests, is gathered for two purposes: to provide the best care and treatment for you as a patient, and for research to increase understanding of health and illness. Both good treatment and good research depend on accurate and complete information. However, just as coming to The Rockefeller University Hospital as a patient or participant is voluntary, giving the information we request and participating in various tests and research procedures is also voluntary. However, if you refuse to give information or undergo tests that are important for the conduct of the research, the investigator may decide to remove you from the study.