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Redefining Informed Consent in the Era of E-Health

University of Missouri

George Demiris
University of Missouri

Topic: other
Track: Practice
Type: Oral presentation

     Full text: Not available
     Last modified: September 25, 2006
     Presentation date: 10/17/2006 12:00 PM in RYH Confederation 5
     (View Schedule)

In the context of e-health, patients or health care consumers are faced with several potential risks, that include:
• the level of accuracy, completeness and timeliness of medical information available online
• security and privacy of medical data
• safety of medical devices operated by patients at home for the purposes of transmission of vital and other clinical signs
• level of identity disclosure of online providers of health information and services.

A further challenge arises from the fact that in the context of e-health, even if information on the parameters listed above is made available, it is uncertain whether health care consumers accesses and consequently comprehends it. Consumers frequently access and brows online resources to make a decision and complete a health care related transaction such as signing up for a health plan, purchasing drugs or participating in a live chat with a health care professional. While most online resources make the term of conditions or privacy statement of the online application available, as required by federal laws, it remains uncertain to what extent users access, and most importantly, fully understand these disclosures and their rights pertaining to the online use.
The question that arises from these observations is whether an e-health consumer can be truly informed. Knowledge in this context refers to both the clinical risks as well as the implications of the technology use and the online communication. Disclosure is hindered due to the fact that risks associated with e-health are not known to a great extent. In addition, patients’ possible lacking of technical expertise can hinder this process further, as the presentation of technical risks (e.g., explanations of security and privacy threats) can have varying levels of success based on the user’s profile.

In this talk, we are going to explore and analyze the various forms of informed consents in the context of e-health, the legal and philosophical implications, and the impacts on health care consumers. The argument that we present is that informed consent needs to be redefined in the new era of e-health.

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