Revista Latinoamericana de Bioética
Print version ISSN 1657-4702
DE ORTUZAR, María Graciela. EQUAL ACCESS TO TELEHEALTHCARE IN ISOLATED RURAL ZONES: PROPOSAL FOR A COMPREHENSIVE REGULATORY ETHICAL FRAMEWORK OF ACCESS AND DISTRIBUTION. rev.latinoam.bioet. [online]. 2009, vol.9, n.1, pp. 76-93. ISSN 1657-4702.
According to the World Medical Association, the use of ICTs (Information and Communicational Technologies) in health care (telemedicine), "is the practice of medicine, from a distance, in which interventions, diagnostic and treatment decisions and recommendations are based on clinical data, documents and other information transmitted through telecommunication systems". This new practice in the health care system cause new ethical, legal, social and technological implications that effects the current health care model. Generally speaking, the problem of confidenciality has been prioritized in the use of medical information. However, one of the most important ethical issues is "equality of opportunity" in the access to ICTs in health care (prevention, treatment, cure and rehabilitation). For that reason, the aim of the present work is to create an ethical framework in order to evaluate and regulate the impact on the health care access of the telemedicine programmes in isolated and rural areas. Secondly, the regulation of the use of ICTs in health care will be analyzed, considering: professional and social responsibilities, confidentiality in the use of medical information (electronic clinical histories, access to data base), among others. The methodology is reflective equilibrium in theory and practice. The general hypothesis of this work is that a fair, ethical and integral framework is required to evaluate and regulate the use of telemedicine programmes in isolated and rural areas since the impact of the equal access to the communities constitutes the only alternative health care system in those areas.
Keywords : Right to health care; telemedicine; confidenciality; equal access to information; ethical and integral framework.