The Self-Evaluative Privilege: Still No More Reliable than a One-Iron

In an era of WikiLeaks and oversharing through social media, the notion of maintaining the confidentiality of anything seems quaint. In law, confidentiality protections have been waived or vitiated, voluntarily or under pressure, so often that for a while, the refusal to waive confidentiality protections was an aggravating factor in federal government criminal enforcement actions. As those who work in the health care community know, governmental expectations of self-disclosure have never been greater. Yet the need for confidentiality endures because of the earnest bedrock principle on which privileges and other confidentiality protections are built: to encourage honesty and candor, the free and full exchange of information and opinions.

Health care providers and administrators depend upon numerous privileges and confidentiality protections every day. Some are culturally sacrosanct, such as the physician- patient privilege. Others are decidedly less revered, and often honored only in the breach. Such is the case with the self-evaluative privilege, also known as the selfcritical analysis privilege.

Read more in the Fall 2011 edition of the Health Law Reporter.