Ethics and Health Informatics

Kenneth W. Goodman

Bioethics Program, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA

 

Abstract
This tutorial provides an intermediate level survey of ethical issues in health information technology. It has been clear for many years that health informatics raises a variety of interesting and important ethical issues, and that successful adoption and evolution of intelligent machines in health care will re-quire as much attention to ethics as to science and technology. The issues to be surveyed include ethical issues associated with the use of decision support systems and prognostic scoring systems; the role of industry in creating and selling electronic health records; privacy, confidentiality and the challenge of “secondary use” of health information; public health informatics; bioinformatics; and others. Legal and regulatory matters will be discussed when appropriate. These include issues related to liability, human subject research, genetics and the regulation of electronic health records as medical devices. European Union and North American traditions will be contrasted.

 

Outline of topics

  • Appropriate uses and users of decision support systems and prognostic scoring systems

  • The role of industry in creating and selling electronic health records

  • Privacy, confidentiality and the challenge of “secondary use” of health information

  • Public health informatics

  • Bioinformatics

  • Managing uncertainty in health IT

  • The role of informatics in evidence-based practice

  • Error avoidance and responsibility

  • The very idea of a “standard of care” in informatics

  • Public policy issues


Learning objectives

By the end of the session, participants will be better able to identify and address ethical issues that arise in the course of interactions with, and use of, the tools of health information technology. More significantly, participants will appreciate the scope and depth of these issues, and in some cases contribute to institutional policy related to the use of informatics tools.

 

Target audience

The tutorial will be accessible to advanced students; informatics professionals, interested clinicians, researchers and policy makers; and others.

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