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Electronic communication in ethics committees: experience and challenges
  1. Arnold R Eiser,
  2. Stanley G Schade,
  3. Lisa Anderson-Shaw,
  4. Timothy Murphy
  1. University of Illinois at Chicago, USA


    Experience with electronic communication in ethics committees at two hospitals is reviewed and discussed. A listserver of ethics committee members transmitted a synopsis of the ethics consultation shortly after the consultation was initiated. Committee comments were sometimes incorporated into the recommendations. This input proved to be most useful in unusual cases where additional, diverse inputs were informative. Efforts to ensure confidentiality are vital to this approach. They include not naming the patient in the e-mail, requiring a password for access to the listserver, and possibly encryption. How this electronic communication process alters group interactions in ethics committees is a fruitful area for future investigation.

    • Clinical ethics committees
    • electronic communication
    • confidentiality

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    • Arnold R Eiser, MD, FACP, is Chief, Section of Internal Medicine and Professor of Medicine and Medical Education, University of Illinois at Chicago. Stanley G Schade, MD, is Professor of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology, University of Illinois at Chicago. Lisa K Anderson-Shaw, DrPH, is Ethics Consultant, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine. Timothy Murphy, PhD, is Professor of Philosophy in Biomedical Science, Department of Medical Education, University of Illinois at Chicago.

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