Ethical aspects of eHealth - systematic review of open access articles
Keywords:eHealth, ethics, telemedicine, telecare, health care information technology, systematic review
The Internet has changed the way of receiving health information and health care services. Improving health care locally, regionally and globally by using information and communication technology is an important goal of eHealth and its applications. The aim of this review is to describe different ethical aspects of eHealth applications. This article is a systematic review. Relevant literature was searched from databases and 18 chosen articles were analyzed by using a data based qualitative content analysis. Six ethical aspects concerning eHealth and its applications were found from the reviewed literature: autonomy, privacy, confidentiality, consent, equality of service availability and beneficence. eHealth applications have a potential to improve health care services comprehensively, especially in remote areas. There are still ethical concerns that need to be addressed as the technology continues to develop. eHealth can be an effective addition to traditional health care services as long as the health and wellbeing of patients remain as the central point and eHealth applications are not used only to gain financial savings.