e-Health ethics code to be finalized in May

April 19, 2000

There is still time to file comments on the International e-Health Ethics Code, written as a result of the Internet Health Coalition’s Ethics Summit, which took place in early February. According

There is still time to file comments on the International e-Health Ethics Code, written as a result of the Internet Health Coalition’s Ethics Summit, which took place in early February. According to Dr. Helga Rippin, IHC chair, approximately 50 sets of comments have been filed as of early April. The proposed code addresses issues like the quality of information offered via the Internet, best commercial practices, and best practices for providing healthcare on the Internet. IHC intends the code to provide guidelines for e-Health and to raise the bar for professional behavior on the Internet. Once the code is final, IHC plans to develop an accreditation or implementation vehicle to ensure that the code is used. According to Rippin, IHC is also working on obtaining formal endorsements for the final document from vendors, government agencies, and special-interest groups all over the world.

IHC started its Internet ethics initiative in response to a challenge issued by Dr. George Lundberg, editor of Medscape, in October 1999. Various entities, including healthcare vendors, dot.coms, consumer groups, and government agencies participated in the summit. IHC issued 50 invitations, 25 by lottery. Following the summit, IHC published the draft code on Feb. 18. The draft code is available on the Web. IHC is accepting comments through the beginning of May.

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