Medical Informatics and Information Ethics


Koichiro ITAI
Research Associate,
Department of Ethics,
Faculty of Letters,
Kyoto University Lecturer(part-time),
College of Medical Technology
Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine


Medical informatics is an interdisciplinary field based on computer science, epidemiology, evidence-based medicine(EBM) and other fields.

Recently, Bioinformatics has close contacts with Medical informatics. California!Gs Affymetrix and IncyteGenomics have developed so called DNA chip and microarray technology. In the near future, Personalized medicine or Taylor-made medicine accordong to the personal genetic data based on SNP(single nucleotide polymorphism) will be completed.

In order to establish Taylor-made medicine based on SNP, Electronic patient records(EPRs) including personal genetic data is quite important.

However, in using them on the network and to advance the sharing of medical information among medical staffs and plural institutions, we must pay attention to several important ethical issues. Especially, we have to consider the patient!Gs right to informed consent, and the right to privacy that were interpreted as the right to control the flow of information concerning or describing him/her. We need to lay down regulations on the sharing of medical information.