Professional Indemnity Insurance

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Keeping patient’s sensitive information confidential is a cornerstone of medical ethics. Doctor-patient confidentiality plays a crucial role in the healthcare system. Patient trust allows doctors to provide effective healthcare services and outcomes. It is not just an ethical obligation, but also a legal obligation for medical professionals to keep patients’ data confidential. 

Medical malpractice claims are rising in today’s litigious world. Defending these claims is highly expensive and can cause financial distress for a healthcare professional. It has become relevant for every medical professional to have a professional indemnity policy for doctors for financial protection. Medical indemnity insurance for doctors gives them financial support against the liabilities arising from claims of error, medical negligence, breach of doctor-patient confidentiality, and malpractice. The policy offers legal support and compensates in defending a claim, settlements, and maintaining a reputation. 

Doctor-patient confidentiality coverage in professional indemnity policy for doctors

As maintaining patient information confidentiality is a fundamental aspect of the medical profession, indemnity coverage for patient data breaches is extremely important. Data breach meaning an incident in which sensitive information is retrieved, disclosed, and accessed in an unauthorised manner. 

A data breach can happen due to various reasons such as cyber-attacks, human errors, third-party involvement, or due to stolen or lost devices. Healthcare professionals are expected to adhere to professional ethical standards and abide by the legal requirements related to patient data breaches. A breach of sensitive data can result in serious consequences such as disciplinary actions against doctors by the medical board, litigations, and reputational damage. Professional indemnity policy for doctors provides coverage for claims arising from breach of doctor-patient confidentiality. The coverage includes:

  1. Professional indemnity policy for doctors often explicitly includes coverage for breaches of patient confidentiality. This coverage extends to claims or legal actions resulting from accidental or intentional disclosure of patient information without proper authorisation.
  2. Professional indemnity policy for doctors typically covers legal defence costs. This includes expenses related to hiring lawyers, court fees, and other legal proceedings.
  3. If the doctor is found liable for breaching confidentiality, the policy pays the settlement as per policy limits. 
  4. Insurance providers may offer resources and guidance on risk management practices to help doctors prevent breaches of confidentiality.
  5. Professional indemnity policy for doctors often aligns with ethical guidelines and legal requirements concerning patient confidentiality.

Laws governing Doctor-Patient Confidentiality data breach

Doctor-patient confidentiality is governed by various laws, statutes, and codes of ethics in India. Let us look at the laws governing the patient data breach here:

  • Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette, and Ethics) Regulations, 2002

These regulations, issued by the Medical Council of India (MCI), provide guidelines for doctors’ professional conduct. They emphasise maintaining patient confidentiality and respecting patients’ privacy.

  • The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010

This legislation governs the registration and regulation of clinical establishments in India. While it primarily deals with the registration of healthcare facilities, it indirectly emphasises patient confidentiality and ethical practices.

  • Information Technology Act, 2000

This act contains provisions related to data protection and privacy, including electronic health records and patient data security.

  • State Medical Council Acts for Doctor-Patient Confidentiality

Each state in India might have its own Medical Council Act that outlines professional conduct guidelines for doctors practising within that state.

  • The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010

This legislation governs the registration and regulation of clinical establishments in India. While it primarily deals with the registration of healthcare facilities, it indirectly emphasises patient confidentiality and ethical practices.

  • Case Laws

Indian courts have made judgments emphasising doctor-patient confidentiality as a fundamental ethical obligation of healthcare providers. Precedents set by these judgments also contribute to the legal framework surrounding patient confidentiality.


It is extremely important for medical professionals in India to be aware of the governing laws and ethical guidelines to ensure they maintain patient confidentiality. Breaching patient confidentiality can lead to legal consequences, disciplinary actions by medical councils, and damage to professional reputation. It is also crucial for doctors to obtain professional liability insurance to protect themselves against claims arising from breaches of confidentiality or other medical negligence.

About The Author

Saloni Mishra 

MBA Insurance Management

With an illustrious career in the insurance sector, Saloni is a distinguished writer specializing in articles concerning doctor professional indemnity policies for SecureNow. Leveraging 12 years of hands-on experience, she understands the intricate nuances of professional indemnity insurance tailored specifically for medical professionals. Her articles offer invaluable insights into the significance of doctor professional indemnity coverage, addressing the unique risks and challenges healthcare practitioners face. Renowned for their expertise and attention to detail, Saloni is committed to providing readers with informative and actionable content that empowers them to make informed decisions regarding their insurance needs.