ICT in Medicine and Health Care: Assessing Social, Ethical and Legal Issues

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Continuous developments in information and communication technologies (ICT) have resulted in an increasing use of these technologies in the practice of medicine and in the provision of medical care. This paper presents a series of perspectives from different areas of expertise on some of the ways in which ICT has changed the social picture in respect of the practice of medicine. The aim of the paper is to provide a context for further debate, in the form of a Panel Session, where the issue of Human Choice and Computing can be discussed with reference to a set of specific scenarios. The authors of this paper represent a wide variety of disciplines including law, ethics, medicine, philosophy and computer science, thus bringing a broad perspective to begin the discussions. The aim of the session is to provoke further discussion, encouraging input from other disciplines respresented by the participants, with a view to identifying the level of human choice in a social arena, which has at its heart a vulnerable community. In this environment, and in this era, the ‘social’ in social informatics has never been more important.