URAC explores aspects of e-health ethics in "The New Frontier"

Washington 15 November 2001URAC, the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission, in partnership with the Internet Healthcare Coalition, released the publication "The New Frontier: Exploring eHealth Ethics". The book compiles, for the first time, all the major ethical codes and guidelines for health Web sites. In addition, "The New Frontier" includes a variety of articles contributed by on-line health community leaders on topics including privacy and security, consumer trust, quality and oversight of on-line health. The publication also includes detailed results of the URAC/Harris Interactive survey of consumers' attitudes towards health Web sites.

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"The New Frontier" is a source of valuable information to members of the health care community who are grappling with the ever-expanding role of the Internet to disseminate health information and services. The information provided in this book can guide the establishment of high quality Web sites, fulfilling the expectations of consumers and ensuring adherence to ethical principles.

"This book is important because it is the first and so far the only volume written by many of the individuals and organisations directly involved in the effort to develop and implement a universal code of e-health ethics", stated John Mack, President of the Internet Healthcare Coalition and Executive Editor of "The New Frontier". "While there is much work yet to do to achieve this ultimate goal, one might say that what comes after will be built upon the shoulders of these leaders."

Petra Wilson, of the Directorate General for Information Society, European Commission, and contributor to the book, commented: "The translation of ethical frameworks in health care into the nascent e-health environment is one of the burning issues of the moment. On both sides of the Atlantic, scholars, medical and legal practitioners, and policy makers are questioning the validity of the old standards in the new world. This book sets the scene on the key issues and will provide fuel to the debates which will continue for some time to come."

The book compiles, for the first time ever, influential ethical codes by the Internet Healthcare Coalition, Hi-Ethics, the American Medical Association (AMA), and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), as well as URAC's Health Web Site Accreditation standards. Primary survey data regarding consumers' attitudes towards health Web sites and accreditation is also available in the appendix.

Anyone who is interested in the role and evolution of on-line health care will find "The New Frontier" to be a valuable resource. The book can be ordered on-line at Web site of URAC. The book costs $95, with discounts for members of the Internet Healthcare Coalition and URAC-accredited organisations. More details on the work of URAC are to be found in the VMW September 2001 article URAC draws up standards manual for independent accreditation of health Web sites.


Leslie Versweyveld

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