CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Yearb Med Inform 2020; 29(01): 026-031
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1701966
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart

Ethics in Health Informatics

Kenneth W. Goodman
1  Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, USA
› Author Affiliations
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Publication History

Publication Date:
17 April 2020 (online)


Contemporary bioethics was fledged and is sustained by challenges posed by new technologies. These technologies have affected many lives. Yet health informatics affects more lives than any of them. The challenges include the development and the appropriate uses and users of machine learning software, the balancing of privacy rights against the needs of public health and clinical practice in a time of Big Data analytics, whether and how to use this technology, and the role of ethics and standards in health policy. Historical antecedents in statistics and evidence-based practice foreshadow some of the difficulties now faced, but the scope and scale of these challenges requires that ethics, too, be brought to scale in parallel, especially given the size of contemporary data sets and the processing power of new computers. Fortunately, applied ethics affords a variety of tools to help identify and rank applicable values, support best practices, and contribute to standards. The bioethics community can in partnership with the informatics community arrive at policies that promote the health sciences while reaffirming the many and varied rights that patients expect will be honored.