The Journal of Clinical Ethics




Beyond Privacy: Benefits and Burdens of E-Health Technologies in Primary Care

Julie M. Aultman and Erin Dean

The Journal of Clinical Ethics 25, no. 1 (Spring 2014): 50-64.



In this mixed methods study we identify and assess ethical and pragmatic issues and dilemmas surrounding e-health technologies in the context of primary care, including what is already in the literature. We describe how primary healthcare professionals can access reliable and accurate data, improve the quality of care for patients, and lower costs while following institutional guidelines to protect patients. Using qualitative and quantitative methodologies we identify several underlying ethical and pragmatic burdens and benefits of e-health technologies. The 41 study participants reported more burdens than benefits, and were generally ambivalent about their level of satisfaction with their institutions’ e-health technologies, their general knowledge about the technologies, and whether e-health can improve team-based communication and collaboration. Participants provided recommendations to improve e-health technologies in primary care settings.


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