Discussion: Legal and health trend

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Discussion: Legal and health trend

Discussion: Legal and health trend

What are the legal, privacy, and ethical considerations of this health trend?

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Discussion: Legal and health trend
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This is a discussion post. Please make sure is at least 2 paragraph

PLEASE USE at least one SCHOLARLY PEER-Review REFERENCE along with the book below

Hebda, T., & Czar, P. (2013). Handbook of informatics for nurses & healthcare professionals (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

• Chapter 25: Telehealth

Article (required)

Bartz, C. C. (2014). Leadership strategies for improved nursing synergy between informatics and telehealth. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 26(201) 227-232. https://chamberlainuniversity.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mdc&AN=24943548&site=eds-live&scope=site

Permalink: 

Select one of the following trends and discuss your understanding of this trend in healthcare and its potential impact on your practice as a nurse. What are the legal, privacy, and ethical considerations of this trend?

• Nanotechnology

• Consumer health informatics (CHI)

• Telehealth (or telenursing)/virtual healthcare

• Social media healthcare applications

• Health-focused wearable technology

• eHealth

Permalink: 

Objective

Social media, web and mobile technologies are increasingly used in healthcare and directly support patient-centered care. Patients benefit from disease self-management tools, contact to others, and closer monitoring. Researchers study drug efficiency, or recruit patients for clinical studies via these technologies. However, low communication barriers in social-media, limited privacy and security issues lead to problems from an ethical perspective. This paper summarizes the ethical issues to be considered when social media is exploited in healthcare contexts.

Methods

Starting from our experiences in social-media research, we collected ethical issues for selected social-media use cases in the context of patient-centered care. Results were enriched by collecting and analyzing relevant literature and were discussed and interpreted by members of the IMIA Social Media Working Group.

Results

Most relevant issues in social-media applications are confidence and privacy that need to be carefully preserved. The patient-physician relationship can suffer from the new information gain on both sides since private information of both healthcare provider and consumer may be accessible through the Internet. Physicians need to ensure they keep the borders between private and professional intact. Beyond, preserving patient anonymity when citing Internet content is crucial for research studies.

Conclusion

Exploiting medical social-media in healthcare applications requires a careful reflection of roles and responsibilities. Availability of data and information can be useful in many settings, but the abuse of data needs to be prevented. Preserving privacy and confidentiality of online users is a main issue, as well as providing means for patients or Internet users to express concerns on data usage.

Keywords: Social media, health care ethics, information science, patient-centered care

1 Introduction

Due to improved possibilities and means to obtain information about diseases and treatments that go hand-in-hand with the development of social media and Internet technologies, patients are becoming more informed [], and they increasingly want to be engaged in their care []. Social media are digital media and technologies that enable users to exchange information and to create media content individually or in community with others. This media is increasingly becoming a tool supporting healthcare processes, gathering and sharing information, bringing people together, and encouraging social networking and communication regarding health topics [], and it supports in this way patient empowerment, i.e. it brings patients into the position to take control of their healthcare needs. The evolution of the Internet from a limited, technical resource, to today’s dynamic “Web 2.0” where people are able to share information means increasing numbers of people living with a long-term condition are now putting personal health information into the public domain, including discussion boards, social network sites, blogs, videos and virtual environments [].

1.1. Patient-centered Care and Medical Social Media

The phenomenon of social media and its increased importance in the private as well as in the public sector show there are many potentials even in healthcare settings enabling patient-centered care. In particular, individuals suffering from chronic diseases are using social media more and more to communicate with others, exchange information, and human experiences. Peer-to Peer healthcare is emerging as a source for patient information and support []. Patients, family members, and friends share personal medical information, receive emotional support, or request guidance and advice from healthcare professionals via social-media sites. Social networking communities and data sharing platforms support sharing experiences with conditions, symptoms, and treatment outcomes, but also enable to track personal health and be actively involved in one’s own care coordination. For researchers, such data provide new opportunities to analyze observational data to confirm results from randomized trials []. Increasingly, social networks are being used to investigate adolescent and young adult behaviors and personality traits [], as well as for data collection and education purposes. One application area in this context is the recruitment of patients for clinical trials based on social-media profiles or the exploitation of social-media data for epidemiological studies []. Beyond, physicians may use social networking to crowdsource answers to individual clinical questions. Researchers have found, based on the data posted on Twitter, they can detect and monitor disease activity, most notably disease outbreaks such as cholera and influenza [, ], but more recently, data about issues like headache appearance was collected from tweets [].

These examples show patient-centered healthcare, social media, and the Internet are beginning to come together. Patient behavior has notably changed already and will increasingly influence healthcare delivery and research. A couple of ethical questions arise when it comes to the use of social media in healthcare settings. If you have a Facebook or MySpace page with 600 “friends” is that your private page, or a public document? What do researchers need to consider when developing monitoring applications for healthcare using social media? What do health providers have to consider with respect to ethical questions of social-media usage?

1.2. Ethics in Healthcare

Ethics is defined as the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation []. Public health ethics deal with the specific moral questions regarding public actions for disease prevention, life elongation, or psychological and physical well-being. This is in contrast to medical ethics which concentrates on the relationship between patients and doctors. The issue of how ethical principles may be applied to online health research is a current challenge for researchers, but also for health professionals and patients alike. In this paper, we start to explore these questions and topics.

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