Computer-enabled information technologies help enhance healthcare delivery and the clinal knowledge of conditions impacting the human body. In essence, modern healthcare is almost impossible without the use of technology. Although information technology presents the ability to enhance healthcare efficiency and quality, it also raises significant ethical issues. This paper will explore ethical issues in healthcare information technology.
Patients’ personal privacy is essential when providing healthcare services. Notably, the introduction of a comprehensive electronic healthcare record management system in the United States has given rise to unique patient identifiers (Lippi et al., 2017). Consequently, the U.S. government centrally collects patients’ health information without their knowledge or consent, which is ethically wrong. Suppose this information falls on the wrong hands, such as hackers. In that case, it can be used to discriminate against people with contiguous infections, cancer, and HIV / AIDS, leading to stigmatization in society. Contrary to enhancing healthcare services provision, the unique patient identifier will only facilitate involuntary surveillance of people.
Not surprisingly, mobile technology is increasingly creating healthcare awareness through smartphone apps that track fitness and chronic diseases. For example, Apple’s HealthKit app provides details about an individual’s heart rate and blood pressure (North & Chaudhry, 2016; Lucivero & Jongsma, 2018). The HealthKit application offers advice on first aid and support details to patients, such as the nearest health center, physical address, and contact to seek medical attention.
While information technology has improved healthcare services’ quality and efficiency, ethical considerations must be considered when recording patient information to ensure their privacy. Patients deserve a health care infrastructure that promotes trust between physicians and patients. By adopting the government’s involuntary unique patient identification program, trust in the healthcare system is compromised.
Lucivero, F., & Jongsma, K. R. (2018). A mobile revolution for healthcare? Setting the agenda for bioethics. Journal of Medical Ethics, 44(10), 685-689. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/medethics-2017-104741
Lippi, G., Mattiuzzi, C., Bovo, C., & Favaloro, E. J. (2017). Managing the patient identification crisis in healthcare and laboratory medicine. Clinical biochemistry, 50(10-11), 562-567. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2017.02.004
North, F., & Chaudhry, R. (2016). Apple health kit and health app: patient uptake and barriers in primary care. Telemedicine and e-Health, 22(7), 608-613. https://doi.org/10.1089/tmj.2015.0106