INTERNET ETHICS: Coalition Releases New Standards for Online Health Providers
The Internet Healthcare Coalition will release its "eHealth Code of Ethics" today, urging health providers to warn patients of the limits of online services. According to the voluntary guidelines, providers "should tell patients when face-to-face interactions are better than cyberspace chats" and "should help patients find local care offline." The coalition argues that doctors and therapists "sometimes push ethical boundaries online" and miss clues from patient body language that could lead to a misdiagnosis. Although the IHC's code of ethics is less detailed than the guidelines issued by the American Medical Association in March, they are similar in that both address potentially misleading information and violations of patient privacy. The guidelines are meant to apply to health sites worldwide, including those operated by doctors, nurses, pharmacists and therapists. The IHC is comprised of various representatives from the industrial, advocacy and academic fields. Some members include Medscape and Glaxo Wellcome PLC (Jesdanun, AP/Fresno Bee, 5/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.