Ethical and methodological aspects of medical computer data bases and knowledge bases

Ethical problems are related to computer data bases, containing data on individuals and groups of persons, as well as to computer knowledge bases, containing general rules and elements of expert systems.In the present essay the following conclusions are made regarding computer data bases: privacy, security, and confidentiality of medical computer data bases should be ensured. This duty should rest with physicians in hospitals. The principle of informed consent should be applied to gathering information which is to be stored and processed by computers. Information stored in computer data bases should not be used for purposes for which the subjects (patients as well as personnel) have not given their consent. In order to decrease the possibility of misuses of medical data bases containing information on individuals, these registers should not be linked to other central data bases.
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