Medical Ethical and Policy Issues Arising from RIA

Medical Ethical and Policy Issues Arising from RIA

Jimmie L. Joseph (University of Texas at El Paso, USA) and David P. Cook (Old Dominion University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-050-9.ch145
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New technologies can lead to social upheaval and ethical dilemmas which are unrecognized at the time of their introduction. Medical care technology has advanced rapidly over the course of the past two decades and has frequently been accompanied by unforeseen consequences for individuals, the medical profession and government budgets, with concomitant implications for society and public policy (Magner, 1992; Marti- Ibanez, 1962). Advances in information technology (IT) during the last decade and a half are now impacting the medical profession, and the delivery of medical advances, in ways that will impact public policy debates for the foreseeable future. The World Wide Web (Web) makes information that was once the eminent domain of medical professionals available to average citizens who are increasingly demanding medical treatments from the leading edge of medical technology. For example, CenterWatch (www.centerwatch. com) provides a wealth of information concerning clinical trials and offers a conduit by which patients can become involved in such studies. The availability of such information has also led to patients suffering from life-threatening diseases not part of such clinical trials to request special access to potentially life-saving therapies. As a result, the Web is increasing the complexity of answering public policy questions surrounding what medical technologies to make available to the public, who will be eligible to receive new medical treatments, and at what cost.

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