Ethical considerations for the utilization of telehealth technologies in home and hospice care by the nursing profession

George Demiris, Debra Parker Oliver, Karen L. Courtney

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Home care, including hospice care, is a growing component of the current healthcare system and pertains to care services that are provided to individuals, their family members, and caregivers in their ownresidence. Both domains face funding limitations as life expectancy and the segment of the population older than 65 years increase. Telehealth, defined as the use of advanced telecommunication technologies to enable communication between patients and healthcare providers separated by geographic distance, is perceived as a concept that can enhance both home and hospice care and address some of the current challenges. This article discusses ethical challenges associated with the utilization of telehealth technologies by the nursing profession in the home setting. These factors form a framework for the ethical considerations that result from the introduction of these technologies in nursing practice. Specifically, the article discusses the issue of privacy and confidentiality of patient data, informed consent, equity of access, promoting dependency versus independence, the lack of human touch and the impact of technology on the nurse-patient relationship, and the medicalization of the home environment. These issues constitute a roadmap both for nursing practitioners who are aiming to provide an efficient delivery of services in the home and for nursing administrators who are asked to make judgments about the use of telehealth technology as a supplement to traditional care and as a cost-saving tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-66
Number of pages11
JournalNursing Administration Quarterly
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006

Keywords

  • Ethics
  • Information technology
  • Nursing practice
  • Telemedicine
  • Videoconferencing

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