Ethics Informatics: The Use of Personal Smartphones in Practice


Question: Identify an ethical dilemma in health care informatics (personal or professional) that would best be approached using an ethical decision-making framework.  Describe the application of the ethical decision-making process to the dilemma.  Consider such issues as using smartphones to monitor patients’ health, using patient meta-data in Artificial Intelligence (AI), telehealth, clinical decision-making support systems […]

Ethics Informatics: The Use of Personal Smartphones in Practice

Caregivers’ use of personal smartphones to monitor patients’ health constitutes a common ethical issue among many health organizations. Nurses use their smartphones to keep patients’ information, interact with individuals receiving home-based care, and conduct professional interactions and communication. Although the use of such devices attracts speedy operations and timely decision-making among healthcare professionals, they are often associated with impediments to the patient’s privacy. According to Goodman (2020), caregivers’ use of personal smartphones may result in access to patients’ information by unauthorized personnel, which constitutes an unethical practice. Such practices also attract situation errors that may endanger patient safety (Garot et al., 2019). Therefore, it would be appropriate to utilize an ethical decision-making framework to address issues surrounding using personal smartphones by medical professionals.

While smartphones might be used to refine the healthcare service delivery process, clinicians ought to embrace ethical and professional standards when engaging in such activities. According to Séroussi et al. (2020), patients are entitled to the freedom to decide when, how, and to what extent others may access their health information. Nurses should, therefore, observe patient information privacy when using their smartphones to ensure that they do not contravene their clients’ rights. Clinicians are also expected to observe the principles of accountability, fidelity, and autonomy when performing their duties (Grace, 2017, p. 19). The principle of accountability requires clinicians to be answerable for their actions. Providers who contravene the patients’ right to privacy of information should, therefore, be held accountable for their actions. The principle of nonmaleficence prohibits nurses’ engagement in activities that might harm a patient’s physical and emotional health. Therefore, they should observe the ethical standard of nonmaleficence to ensure that using smartphones to store, retrieve, or analyze a patient’s information does not cause emotional or psychological implications for a patient.


Goodman, K. W. (2020). Ethics in health informatics. Yearbook of medical informatics29(01), 26-31.

Séroussi, B., Hollis, K. F., & Soualmia, L. F. (2020). Transparency of Health Informatics Processes as the Condition of Healthcare Professionals’ and Patients’ Trust and Adoption: The Rise of Ethical Requirements. Yearbook of Medical Informatics29(01), 007-010.

Grace, P. J. (Ed.). (2017). Nursing ethics and professional responsibility in advanced practice. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Garot, O., Rössler, J., Pfarr, J., Ganter, M. T., Spahn, D. R., Nöthiger, C. B., & Tscholl, D. W. (2019). Avatar-based versus conventional vital signs display in a central monitor for monitoring multiple patients: A multicenter computer-based laboratory study.

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Published On: 01-01-1970

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