Why digital transformation raises ethical questions in healthcare

One of the greatest challenges health systems face when it comes to digital transformation is striking a balance between leveraging advanced technology and maintaining patient privacy, data security and ethical considerations, according to Terri Couts, RN, chief digital officer of Sayre, Pa.-based the Guthrie Clinic. 

"Digital transformation often involves the collection, storage and sharing of vast amounts of personal health information," Ms. Couts told Becker's. "Ensuring the security of this data against cyberattacks, unauthorized access and breaches is critical."

Ms. Couts said digital transformation in healthcare can sometimes raise ethical questions related to patient consent, transparency and the appropriate use of technology. 

"For instance, issues like telemedicine's impact on the doctor-patient relationship, the use of artificial intelligence in diagnosing and treating patients, and the potential for biased algorithms can all have ethical implications that need to be carefully addressed," she said. 

In addition, not all patients have equal access to technology, which could exacerbate existing health disparities, according to Ms. Couts. 

"Health systems need to ensure that their digital initiatives don't exclude certain segments of the population from accessing quality care," she said. 

In order for health systems to have a comprehensive approach to digital transformation, organizations must consider not only the technical aspects of digital transformation but also its impact on patient care, privacy, ethics and equitable access, according to Ms. Couts.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars