Point-of-care evidence-based medicine websites allow physicians to answer clinical queries using recent evidence at the bedside. Despite significant research into the function, usability and effectiveness of these programmes, little attention has been paid to their ethical issues. As many of these sites summarise the literature and provide recommendations, we sought to assess the role of conflicts of interest in two widely used websites: UpToDate and Dynamed. We recorded all conflicts of interest for six articles detailing treatment for the following conditions: (...) erectile dysfunction, fibromyalgia, hypogonadism, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease. These diseases were chosen as their medical management is either controversial, or they are treated using biological drugs which are mostly available by brand name only. Thus, we hypothesised that the role of conflict of interest would be more significant in these conditions than in an illness treated with generic medications or by strict guidelines. All articles from the UpToDate articles demonstrated a conflict of interest. At times, the editor and author would have a financial relationship with a company whose drug was mentioned within the article. This is in contrast with articles on the Dynamed website, in which no author or editor had a documented conflict. We offer recommendations regarding the role of conflict of interest disclosure in these point-of-care evidence-based medicine websites. (shrink)
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems identify and track objects, animals and, in principle, people. The ability to gather information obtained by tracking consumer goods, government documents, monetary transactions and human beings raises a number of interesting and important privacy issues. Moreover, RFID systems pose an ensemble of other ethical challenges related to appropriate uses and users of such systems. This paper reviews a number of RFID applications with the intention of identifying the technology’s benefits and possible misuses. We offer an (...) overview and discussion of the most important ethical issues concerning RFID, and describes and examine some methods of protecting privacy. (shrink)
The intersection of ethics, computing, and genetics plots a space not yet adequately mapped, despite its importance, indeed, its rapidly growing importance. Its subdomains are well-enough known: or the study of ethical issues in genetics and genomics, is part of core curricula everywhere. Ethics and computing is an established subfield. Computing and geneticshas in little more than a decade progressed from subsubspecialty to the sine qua non of contemporary biomedical research, and it bids fair to transform clinical practice. We must (...) prepare for the complete digitization of the genomes of individual patients and the storage of millions of these genomes in very large databases. (shrink)
Increasingly widespread adoption of health information technology tools in clinical care increases interest in ethical and legal issues related to the use of these tools for public health and the effects of these uses on the clinician-patient relationship. It is argued that patients, clinicians, and society have generally uncontroversial duties to support civil society's public health mission, information technology supports this mission, and the effects of automated and computerized public health surveillance are likely to have little if any effect on (...) the clinician-patient relationship. It is also suggested, nevertheless, that electronic public health surveillance raises interesting and important ethical issues, some of which can be addressed if not resolved by empirical research, especially regarding patient preferences about secondary use of health data and their moral obligation to contribute to population- based health. (shrink)
Computer-based information and communication technologies continue to transform the delivery of health care and the conception and scientific understanding of the human body and the diseases that afflict it. While information technology has the potential to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care, it also raises important ethical and social issues. This IRIE theme issue seeks to provide a forum to identify, analyse and discuss the ethical and social issues raised by various applications of information and communication technology in (...) medicine and health care. The contributions give a flavour of the extraordinarily broad landscape shaped by the intersection of medicine, computing and ethics. In fact, their diversity suggests that much more work is needed to clarify issues and approaches, and to provide practical tools for clinicians. (shrink)
News media accounts of issues in bioethics gain significance to the extent that the media influence public policy and inform personal decision making. The increasingly frequent appearance of bioethics in the news thus imposes responsibilities on journalists and their sources. These responsibilities are identified and discussed, as is (i) the concept of "newsworthiness" as applied to bioethics, (ii) the variable quality of bioethics reportage and (iii) journalists' reliance on ethicists to pass judgment. Because of the potential social and other benefits (...) of high quality reporting on ethical issues, it is argued that journalists and their bioethics sources should explore and accommodate more productive relationships. An optimal journalism-ethics relationship will be one characterized by "para-ethics," in which journalistic constraints are noted but also in which issues and arguments are presented without oversimplification and credible disagreement is given appropriate attention. (shrink)
To ask whether and to what extent there is an obligation to treat illegal immigrants impliesthat any duty to treat an illegal resident is different from or lesser than the duty to treat a citizen. What could be the reason for thinking that morality affords fewer benefits or rights to illegal residents?
The case of Terri Schiavo, a young woman who spent 15 years in a persistent vegetative state, has emerged as a watershed in debates over end-of-life care. While many observers had thought the right to refuse medical treatment was well established, this case split a family, divided a nation, and counfounded physicians, legislators, and many of the people they treated or represented. In renewing debates over the importance of advance directives, the appropriate role of artificial hydration and nutrition, and the (...) responsibilities of family members, the case also became one of history's most extensively litigated health care disputes. The Case of Terri Schiavo assembles a team of first-hand participants and content experts to provide thoughtful and nuanced analyses. In addition to a comprehensive overview, the book includes contributions by Ms. Schiavo's guardian ad litem, a neurologist and lawyer who participated in the case, and scholars who examine issues related to litigation, faith, gender, and disability. The volume also includes a powerful dissent from the views of many scholars in the bioethics community. The book is intended for students, health care professionals, policy makers, and other in search of carefully reasoned analyses of the case that will shape our view of death and end-of-life medical care for decades. (shrink)