Can electronic medical records make physicians more ethical?

William P. Cheshire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Electronic medical records are changing the face of communication in healthcare. These technologies, which are useful for improving efficiency, quality, and safety, also have the potential, if used wisely, to elevate the ethical standard of medical care. They can assist the morally conscientious physician by supplying legible, timely, accurate, and comprehensive data, prompts, reminders, alerts to preventable errors, and links to scholarly ethics resources and practice guidelines. As for any technology, if used carelessly, they can also introduce new harms or intrude as a distracting third presence in the examination room, diverting attention from the patient. Electronic medical records should be used in ways that connect patients to healthcare professionals rather than place a barrier between them. Vigilant human supervision of electronic medical technologies will always be needed, for automated processes, programmable rules, and digital prompts can never adequately substitute for virtue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-141
Number of pages7
JournalEthics and Medicine
Volume30
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Philosophy
  • Health Policy

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