Ethical issues among Finnish occupational physicians and nurses.
A postal survey was conducted among 200 Finnish occupational physicians and nurses on their ethical values and problems. Both groups considered 'expertise' and 'confidentiality' as the most important core values of occupational health services (OHS) corresponding with newly published national ethical guidelines for occupational physicians and nurses in Finland. Nearly all respondents had encountered ethically problematic situations in their work, but ethical problems with gene testing in the near future were not considered likely to occur. Only 41% of the nurses and 36% of the physicians had received some training in the ethics of OHS, and 76% of all respondents never used available ethical guidelines. According to the results, even if ethics play a vital role in OHS, the ability to critically evaluate one's own performance seems quite limited. This creates a need for further training and more practicable national guidelines. (+info)
Dilemmas of medical ethics in the Canadian Penitentiary Service.
There is a unique hospital in Canada-and perhaps in the world-because it is built outside prison walls and it exists specifically for the psychiatric treatment of prisoners. It is on the one hand a hospital and on the other a prison. Moreover it has to provide the same quality and standard of care which is expected of a hospital associated with a university. From the time the hospital was established moral dilemmas appeared which were concerned with conflicts between the medical and custodial treatment of prisoners, and also with the attitudes of those having the status of prisoner-patient. Dr Roy describes these dilemmas and attitudes, and in particular a special conference which was convened to discuss them. Not only doctors and prison officials took part in this meeting but also general practitioners, theologians, philosophers, ex-prisoners, judges, lawyers, Members of Parliament and Senators. This must have been a unique occasion and Dr Roy's description may provide the impetus to examine these prison problems in other settings. (+info)
Driving toward guiding principles: a goal for privacy, confidentiality, and security of health information.
As health care moves from paper to electronic data collection, providing easier access and dissemination of health information, the development of guiding privacy, confidentiality, and security principles is necessary to help balance the protection of patients' privacy interests against appropriate information access. A comparative review and analysis was done, based on a compilation of privacy, confidentiality, and security principles from many sources. Principles derived from ten identified sources were compared with each of the compiled principles to assess support level, uniformity, and inconsistencies. Of 28 compiled principles, 23 were supported by at least 50 percent of the sources. Technology could address at least 12 of the principles. Notable consistencies among the principles could provide a basis for consensus for further legislative and organizational work. It is imperative that all participants in our health care system work actively toward a viable resolution of this information privacy debate. (+info)
Audit in the therapy professions: some constraints on progress.
AIMS: To ascertain views about constraints on the progress of audit experienced by members of four of the therapy professions: physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and clinical psychology. METHODS: Interviews in six health service sites with a history of audit in these professions. 62 interviews were held with members of the four professions and 60 with other personnel with relevant involvement. Five main themes emerged as the constraints on progress: resources; expertise; relations between groups; organisational structures; and overall planning of audit activities. RESULTS: Concerns about resources focused on lack of time, insufficient finance, and lack of access to appropriate systems of information technology. Insufficient expertise was identified as a major constraint on progress. Guidance on designing instruments for collection of data was the main concern, but help with writing proposals, specifying and keeping to objectives, analysing data, and writing reports was also required. Although sources of guidance were sometimes available, more commonly this was not the case. Several aspects of relations between groups were reported as constraining the progress of audit. These included support and commitment, choice of audit topics, conflicts between staff, willingness to participate and change practice, and concerns about confidentiality. Organisational structures which constrained audit included weak links between heads of professional services and managers of provider units, the inhibiting effect of change, the weakening of professional coherence when therapists were split across directorates, and the ethos of regarding audit findings as business secrets. Lack of an overall plan for audit meant that while some resources were available, others equally necessary for successful completion of projects were not. CONCLUSION: Members of four of the therapy professions identified a wide range of constraints on the progress of audit. If their commitment to audit is to be maintained these constraints require resolution. It is suggested that such expert advice, but also that these are directed towards the particular needs of the four professions. Moreover, a forum is required within which all those with a stake in therapy audit can acknowledge and resolve the different agendas which they may have in the enterprise. (+info)
Confidentiality and HIV status in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa: implications, resistances and challenges.
This article provides a contextualized comparison and analysis of the former Kwazulu and the new Kwazulu-Natal policy documents on HIV confidentiality, the differing practices within the region, and their implications for support and gender. It is based on interviews with key players in the regional NACOSA (National AIDS Convention of South Africa), and participation in meetings between August and November 1995. The main division is between those influenced by other rural African models, especially the Zambian concept of "shared confidentiality' as a way of ensuring support, and who have gone on to develop more community-based practices to destigmatize the disease, in contrast with the stronger emphasis in the new document on individual rights, assuming a more urban constituency, and where "shared confidentiality' is much more circumscribed. One of the difficulties of the new policy in which "confidentiality' is interpreted as "secrecy', is that it would seem to foreclose and neutralize lay and community support, as distinct from the earlier and unacknowledged policy of former Kwazulu. It also seeks to provide an enhanced role for professional counsellors. This psychologizing of the infection and the distancing from "community', and from women's groups, is surprising in a country in whose townships "community' remains a powerful motivating symbol, and where NGOs and peer groups have been identified everywhere as central to effective HIV/AIDS related prevention, care and support for behavior change. (+info)
Medical records and privacy: empirical effects of legislation.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the effects of state legislation requiring patient informed consent prior to medical record abstraction by external researchers for a specific study. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: Informed consent responses obtained from November 1997 through April 1998 from members of a Minnesota-based IPA model health plan. STUDY DESIGN: Descriptive case study of consent to gain access to medical records for a pharmaco-epidemiologic study of seizures associated with use of a pain medication that was conducted as part of the FDA's post-marketing safety surveillance program to evaluate adverse events associated with approved drugs. DATA COLLECTION: The informed consent process approved by an institutional review board consisted of three phases: (1) a letter from the health plan's medical director requesting participation, (2) a second mailing to nonrespondents, and (3) a follow-up telephone call to nonrespondents. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Of 140 Minnesota health plan members asked to participate in the medical records study, 52 percent (73) responded and 19 percent (26) returned a signed consent form authorizing access to their records for the study. For 132 study subjects enrolled in five other health plans in states where study-specific consent was not required, health care providers granted access to patient medical records for 93 percent (123) of the members. CONCLUSION: Legislation requiring patient informed consent to gain access to medical records for a specific research study was associated with low participation and increased time to complete that observational study. Efforts to protect patient privacy may come into conflict with the ability to produce timely and valid research to safeguard and improve public health. (+info)
Genetic privacy: orthodoxy or oxymoron?
In this paper we question whether the concept of "genetic privacy" is a contradiction in terms. And, if so, whether the implications of such a conclusion, inevitably impact on how society comes to perceive privacy and responsibility generally. Current law and ethical discourse place a high value on self-determination and the rights of individuals. In the medical sphere, the recognition of patient "rights" has resulted in health professionals being given clear duties of candour and frankness. Dilemmas arise, however, when patients decline to know relevant information or, knowing it, refuse to share it with others who may also need to know. This paper considers the notions of interconnectedness and responsibility to others which are brought to the fore in the genetic sphere and which challenge the primacy afforded to personal autonomy. It also explores the extent to which an individual's perceived moral obligations can or should be enforced. (+info)
Genetic testing: a conceptual exploration.
This paper attempts to explore a number of conceptual issues surrounding genetic testing. It looks at the meaning of the terms, genetic information and genetic testing in relation to the definition set out by the Advisory Committee on Genetic Testing in the UK, and by the Task Force on Genetic Testing in the USA. It argues that the special arrangements that may be required for the regulation of genetic tests should not be determined by reference to the nature or technology of the test, but by considering those morally relevant features that justify regulation. Failure to do so will lead to the regulation of genetic tests that need not be regulated, and would fail to cover other tests which should be regulated. The paper also argues that there is little in the nature of the properties of gene tests, using DNA or chromosomes, that in itself justifies a special approach. (+info)