The topic of this week is ethics in health care. I find this topic really interesting but also very complicated. The amount of stakeholders in the field of health care is big which means lot of different aspects, opinions and values to consider.
This time I want to reflect on a patient’s autonomy. It is one of the six ethical aspects in eHealth that Miesperä et al. (2013) found in their litterature review. To me autonomy is something that should be an obvious factor in health care. In Miesperä et al:s article they discussed the importance of autonomy especially in assistive technology among elderly people. They mention that some people might feel that their private life is threatened if they are monitored 24/7. In the article they also talk about the eventual risks that comes along with assistive technology; elderly people might become too dependent on the technology and uncapable to make own desicions and live an independent life and analyze risk factors etc in their own house. I have an example from my personal life that illustrates this example. My grandmother is very old but still lives alone in her appartent and refuses to receive much help from home services etc. She doesn’t really trust the system and thinks that having for example her fallings monitored would not make a big difference and in the worst case she would just be taken away from her home to a service house. She rather relys on the help of relatives.
Refering to van Limburg (2013)the values in eHealth can be difficult to analyze because different stakeholders value different things. For example factors like cost, social interaction and the chosen treatment are valued differently depending on who is asked. In for example home assistance for elderly people the quality of help depends a lot on the economic factors and what the most valuable aspects are. The helath care professionals that come to visit my grandmother don’t have a lot of time to stay at her place before they have to rush to the next place. I think that balancing between cost and time/quality is an everyday struggle in health care.
Miesperä, Anne, Ahonen, Sanna-Mari & Reponen, Jarmo. 2013. Ethical Quality in eHealth: A challenge with many facets.
van Limburg, Maarten. eHealth Business Modeling. 2013. In: J.E.W.C. van Gemert-Pijnen, O. Peters & H.C. Ossebaard. Improving eHealth.