Accountability, Beneficence, and Self-Determination: Can Health Information Systems Make Organizations “Nicer”?

Accountability, Beneficence, and Self-Determination: Can Health Information Systems Make Organizations “Nicer”?

Tina Saryeddine (University of Toronto, Canada and GTA Rehab Network, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-792-8.ch016
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Abstract

Existing literature often addresses the ethical problems posed by health informatics. Instead of this problem-based approach, this chapter explores the ethical benefits of health information systems in an attempt to answer the question “can health information systems make organizations more accountable, beneficent, and more responsive to a patient’s right to self determination?” It does so by unpacking the accountability for reasonableness framework in ethical decision making and the concepts of beneficence and self-determination. The framework and the concepts are discussed in light of four commonly used health information systems, namely: Web-based publicly accessible inventories of services; Web-based patient education; telemedicine; and the electronic medical record. The objective of this chapter is to discuss the ethical principles that health information systems actually help to achieve, with a view to enabling researchers, clinicians, and managers make the case for the development and maintenance of these systems in a client-centered fashion.

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