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Use of Remote Sensing & Monitoring Devices

Devices that transmit patient information wirelessly raise concerns about safety and the confidentiality of patient information.
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Code of Medical Ethics Opinion 1.2.9

Sensing and monitoring devices can benefit patients by allowing physicians and other health care professionals to obtain timely information about the patient’s vital signs or health status without requiring an in-person, face-to-face encounter. Implantable devices can also enable physicians to identify patients rapidly and expedite access to patients’ medical records. Devices that transmit patient information wirelessly to remote receiving stations can offer convenience for both patients and physicians, enhance the efficiency and quality of care, and promote increased access to care, but also raise concerns about safety and the confidentiality of patient information.

Individually, physicians who employ remote sensing and monitoring devices in providing patient care should:

(a) Determine whether using one or more such devices is appropriate in light of individual patients’  medical needs and circumstances, including patients’ ability to use the chosen device appropriately.

(b) Explain how the device(s) will be used in the patient’s care and what will be expected of the patient in using the technology, and disclose any limitations, risks, or medical uncertainties associated with the device(s) and data transmission.

(c) Obtain the patient’s or surrogate’s informed consent before implementing the device in treatment. Collectively, physicians should:

(d) Support research into the safety, efficacy, and possible non-medical uses of remote sensing and monitoring devices, including devices intended to transmit biometric data and implantable radio frequency ID devices.

(e) Advocate for appropriate oversight of remote sensing and monitoring devices.

AMA Principles of Medical Ethics: I, III, V

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