The ethical challenges of ubiquitous healthcare (Brown & Adams)

Abstract:

Ubiquitous healthcare is an emerging area of technology that uses a large number of environmental and patient sensors and actuators to monitor and improve patients’ physical and mental condition. Tiny sensors gather data on almost any physiological characteristic that can be used to diagnose health problems. This technology faces some challenging ethical questions, ranging from the small-scale individual issues of trust and efficacy to the societal issues of health and longevity gaps related to economic status. It presents par- ticular problems in combining developing computer/information/media ethics with established medical ethics. This article describes a practice-based ethics approach, considering in particular the areas of privacy, agency, equity and liability. It raises questions that ubiquitous healthcare will force practitioners to face as they de- velop ubiquitous healthcare systems. Medicine is a controlled profession whose practise is commonly re- stricted by government-appointed authorities, whereas computer software and hardware development is notoriously lacking in such regimes.

” In this article we present a practise-based ethics approach, raising the questions to which medical and computing professionals will be forced to face up, as they collaborate to develop and deploy ubiquitous healthcare systems.” 

The ethical challenges of ubiquitous healthcare, Ian Brown & Andrew A. Adams in IRIE, International Review of Informational Ethics, Vol.8 12/2007

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