Ethics and informatics in the age of COVID-19: challenges and recommendations for public health organization and public policy

Vignesh Subbian, Anthony Solomonides, Melissa Clarkson, Vasiliki Nataly Rahimzadeh, Carolyn Petersen, Richard Schreiber, Paul R. DeMuro, Prerna Dua, Kenneth W. Goodman, Bonnie Kaplan, Ross Koppel, Christoph U. Lehmann, Eric Pan, Yalini Senathirajah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic response in the United States has exposed significant gaps in information systems and processes that prevent timely clinical and public health decision-making. Specifically, the use of informatics to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2, support COVID-19 care delivery, and accelerate knowledge discovery bring to the forefront issues of privacy, surveillance, limits of state powers, and interoperability between public health and clinical information systems. Using a consensus-building process, we critically analyze informatics-related ethical issues in light of the pandemic across 3 themes: (1) public health reporting and data sharing, (2) contact tracing and tracking, and (3) clinical scoring tools for critical care. We provide context and rationale for ethical considerations and recommendations that are actionable during the pandemic and conclude with recommendations calling for longer-term, broader change (beyond the pandemic) for public health organization and policy reform.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-189
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 15 2021

Keywords

  • contact tracing
  • COVID-19
  • ethics
  • privacy
  • public health surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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