New developments in medical profiling and online medicine are promised by their providers as leading to a new era of ‘personalised healthcare’.
These developments include direct-to-consumer personal genetic profiling and body imaging, and websites that provide health advice, storage of health records and medicines for sale. This report weighs up the benefits and harms, along with the ethical values that come into play.
The Government should do more to help people find trustworthy health websites and use online health services safely and effectively, says a new report on the ethics of ‘personalised healthcare’. The Nuffield Council on Bioethics warns that whilst online health information and services are convenient to use and extend choice, they could mislead, confuse or create unnecessary anxiety for the people who use them.read more »
Telemedicine refers to any healthcare that involves communications technology and an element of distance. It includes patients and doctors communicating with each other electronically, and medical devices being operated remotely.read more »
Online pharmacies can allow people to buy medicines conveniently and privately. Great Britain has a registration system for online pharmacies to help people identify legitimate websites.read more »
Both public and private healthcare providers are starting to offer online health records services.
Through its HealthSpace website, the NHS currently intends to provide everyone in England with online access to a summary of their medical records, including information about their current and past health problems, medication and allergies.read more »
People have always been able to access health information in newspapers and magazines, but the internet has opened up a range of new possibilities for conveniently finding and exchanging information on health. This can increase people’s involvement in their own health and provide them with valuable support from others.read more »
The Council held a consultation from April - July 2009 to gather views from a wide range of people including those using or contemplating using these services, those involved in providing them in the public and private context, researchers, academics, regulators, policy makers and others.
The Council would like to thank everyone who contributed to the consultation. The responses are being considered by the Working Party. A report with recommendations for policy will be published in October 2010.read more »
The Council has launched a public consultation on the ethical issues raised by online healthcare, telemedicine and commercial medical profiling technologies such as DNA testing and body imaging.
These technologies and services are increasingly focused on the individual, and often mean that the GP is no longer involved in health care.read more »
The Nuffield Council on Bioethics today launched a consultation on the ethics of services and technologies that serve to remove the GP from health care, such as commercial DNA testing and body imaging, and online health care.read more »