New developments in online healthcare have the potential to lead us into a new era of personalized healthcare. Some of these developments are direct-to-consumer personal genetic profiling and body imaging, and websites that provide health advice, storage of health records and medicines for sale.
Scientists from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics called for increased surveillance of private firms that offer a range of genetic tests for conditions such as Alzheimer's, body scans to look for tumours or other issues, and those that sell medicines online. The Council established a Working Party in 2008 to examine the ethical issues raised by new developments and technologies that promise us more personalized healthcare. The group included members with expertise in medicine, science, law, philosophy, ethics, and health policy. The Working Party’s conclusions and recommendations are published in the report "Medical profiling and online medicine: the ethics of ‘personalised’ healthcare in a consumer age." This report weighs up the benefits and harms, along with the ethical values that come into play.
Watch below as Christopher Hood and Nikolas Rose talk about the Nuffield Council on Bioethics' report:
Professor Christopher Hood FBA, is Chair of the Working Party. He is the Gladstone Professor of Government and Fellow, All Souls College, University of Oxford. Nikolas Rose was previously Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths College and is now the James Martin White Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science.