Key Ethical Challenges for eHealth and mHealthEthical, legal issues, risk, big data, sustainability and other key challenges for eHealth and mHealth:

  • Privacy and data protection: Security in the collection, storing and sharing of healthcare information. How is patient data adequately protected according to privacy law? How do different health professionals across different services (eg private general practitioners and pharmacists, public hospitals, other professionals in public and private health services) all share information smoothly for the best interests of patient care? What are the key ethical and legal challenges?
  • Data sovereignty: The notion that electronic data about patients is subject to the laws of the country, especially where global eTechnology providers are managing eHealth systems in other countries. This is one of the critical questions in big data and public health. Which law applies, when global technology companies based in one country are managing the data of patients in another country?

  • Developing interoperability: A term referring to when diverse systems operate together smoothly. What are the key ethical/legal issues?
  • eHealth equity and access: What access should people have to their own eHealthcare records, and what role are patient (consumer) and carer groups and NGOs playing in the governance of eHealth?
  • Governance with disparate systems: How does the proper governance of eHealth occur when health professionals may have different governance systems? What are the key ethical and legal challenges?
  • Risk management: Risk management in relation to the provision of information provided through telemedicine. What are the key risks, as well as the ethical and legal issues?
  • Standards and Quality of Health Information: Who is monitoring the standard and quality of healthcare information being provided online? Standards of health information provided through electronic means. An eHealth code of ethics has been developed to provide standards for health information provided through the internet. See this Rippen and Risk (2000), article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1761853/.
  • Sale of medicines and products online: Consider this challenge with the recognition of the need to monitor and provide standards for online health products (see Liang et al., 2011). This issue is associated with counterfeit medicines, which are often available online. The WHO has developed guidelines for the combat of counterfeit medicines, which can be seen at this website: http://www.who.int/medicines/services/counterfeit/overview/en/.