Computers, Patients, and the Health of Populations: Next Steps in Ethics and Informatics

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - 11:30am to 1:00pm

Mississippi Room, Coffman Memorial Union

Prof. Goodman's lecture focused on how platitudes about the transformation of health care in an information-intensive world do not begin to capture the scope of the challenges we face. From electronic personal health records, to digitized genomes, to ubiquitous public health surveillance, health information technology is requiring a recalibration of some of bioethics' most fundamental navigational tools: valid consent, privacy, access to care, professionalism. He argued that while there are good reasons to believe this technology will improve the health of individuals and populations, the use of intelligent machines is not only a challenge; it might be morally obligatory. He discussed how this tension between a promising technology and generally uncontroversial and shared values is not new. The history of contemporary bioethics has been in many respects a high-stakes history of balancing the risks and benefits of new (and sometimes not-so-new) machines. It has become clear that when it comes to new technology, there is rarely, if ever, a way to turn back.


Julie Jacko, PhD
Founder, Institute for Health Informatics
NSU Florida

Joe Konstan, PhD
Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Associate Department Head, Department of Computer Science and Engineering
University of Minnesota

Continuing Legal Education credit (CLE) was approved (1.5 hours)

Kenneth W. Goodman, PhD, FACMI, is co-director of the University of Miami's Ethics Programs, including its Business Ethics Program, and founder and director of the Bioethics Program and its Pan American Bioethics Initiative. These initiatives are devoted to education, research and community service. He directs the Ethics Programs' World Health Organization Collaborating Center in Ethics and Global Health Policy. Dr. Goodman is a professor in the University of Miami's Department of Medicine with appointments in the Department of Philosophy, School of Nursing and Health Studies, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health and Department of Anesthesiology.

October 28, 2009