Informatics Ethics


Article Author:
Dac Teoli


Article Editor:
Sassan Ghassemzadeh


Editors In Chief:
Rahulkumar Singh


Managing Editors:
Orawan Chaigasame
Carrie Smith
Abdul Waheed
Frank Smeeks
Kristina Soman-Faulkner
Benjamin Eovaldi
Radia Jamil
Sobhan Daneshfar
Saad Nazir
William Gossman
Pritesh Sheth
Hassam Zulfiqar
Navid Mahabadi
Steve Bhimji
John Shell
Matthew Varacallo
Ahmad Malik
Mark Pellegrini
James Hughes
Beata Beatty
Hajira Basit
Phillip Hynes


Updated:
2/4/2019 6:46:10 PM

Definition/Introduction

Ethics are inherent in the practice of medicine. In the world of modern healthcare, the area of informatics plays a pivotal role in the maintenance and delivery of care.[1] As such, over recent years informatics ethics has further come into the spotlight. Similar to other codes of ethics, informatics offers insight into the recommended ethical guidance of clinicians and other healthcare professionals. Additionally, the informatics code of ethics functions as a gold standard against which actions of professionals can be compared. Furthermore, the code of informatics ethics offers patients and the general population an established statement of standards which may mold professionals’ actions and behaviors.

Informatics ethics have significant overlap with other codes of ethics developed around social settings. Many of these fundamental principles include autonomy, equality, justice, beneficence, non-maleficence, and integrity. Other principles including information privacy, security, access, openness, least intrusive alternative, legitimate infringement, and accountability play essential roles in healthcare.[2]

All of these ethical principles, provide insight into the duties and responsibilities of clinicians, administrators, and other healthcare personnel when dealing with patient-related content. It is worth emphasizing that these principles function to provide guidance, depending on the nature, context, and specific details of individual situations.[3]

Issues of Concern

There are several concerns regarding informatics, their regulations, and ethics. One of the significant issues is the consideration of efficiency versus quality care. Specifically, when viewing decision-making across all layers of healthcare delivery, from initial in-person encounters to data storage and transfer, it is imperative to consider the reason behind each decision. An additional issue is patient access to care, and data which has several layers of regulation at the federal, state, and organizational level.[3] Another concern revolves around end-of-life. With the population trending toward living longer, how will data and information be utilized, handled, protected or destroyed? Often individuals at end-of-life do not have the capacity to appreciate the complexity of how their data is treated within the broader healthcare environment are unable to make decisions on how that information should or should not be utilized.[4]

Clinical Significance

Overall, informatics plays a significant role in modern healthcare. The budding field of informatics ethics highlights views that mandate both flexibility and development and recognition of standards for addressing these issues as the field continues to evolve.[5] The collection, maintenance, usage, and destruction of data in electronic healthcare records will remain a focal point of interest in the ongoing societal debate and regulation.


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Informatics Ethics - Questions

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Informatics ethics have significant overlap with other codes of ethics developed around social settings. Which of the following is a typical fundamental principle of informatics ethics?



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Which of the following is a concern directly related to informatics ethics?



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Informatics Ethics - References

References

Lipworth W,Mason PH,Kerridge I, Ethics and Epistemology of Big Data. Journal of bioethical inquiry. 2017 Dec;     [PubMed]
Liyanage H,Liaw ST,Di Iorio CT,Kuziemsky C,Schreiber R,Terry AL,de Lusignan S, Building a Privacy, Ethics, and Data Access Framework for Real World Computerised Medical Record System Data: A Delphi Study. Contribution of the Primary Health Care Informatics Working Group. Yearbook of medical informatics. 2016 Nov 10;     [PubMed]
Layman E, Health informatics: ethical issues. The health care manager. 2003 Jan-Mar;     [PubMed]
Goodman KW, Addressing ethical issues in health information technology. Cambridge quarterly of healthcare ethics : CQ : the international journal of healthcare ethics committees. 2015 Jul;     [PubMed]
Huser V,Cimino JJ, Impending Challenges for the Use of Big Data. International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics. 2016 Jul 1;     [PubMed]

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