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The AMIA Board of Directors has decided to periodically publish AMIA’s Code of Professional Ethical Conduct for its members in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. The Code also will be available on the AMIA Web site at www.amia.org as it continues to evolve in response to feedback from the AMIA membership. The AMIA Board acknowledges the continuing work and dedication of the AMIA Ethics Committee. AMIA is the copyright holder of this work.
The American Medical Informatics Association, in common with other large professional societies, has had a longstanding interest in promoting a strong ethical framework for its membership. For example, see Robert Greenes and the AMIA Board of Directors’ 1994 strategic plan description in the Journal. 1 Additional reading and related professional codes that influenced the Ethics Committee’s most recent deliberations on this iteration of the Code are also available. 2–7 This white paper presents the new AMIA Code of Professional Ethical Conduct, which was approved in February 2007 by the AMIA Board of Directors. In an effort to keep pace with the intrinsic changes within the field itself, the code of ethics below presents the first iteration of a dynamic document. It will evolve as the field itself evolves. The AMIA Web site (www.amia.org) will continue to publish the most up-to-date version of the code. That iterative process hinges on continued input from the AMIA membership.
The code is meant to be practical and easily understood, so it is presented in a compact form using very general language. Unlike the ethics codes of some professional societies, the AMIA code is not intended to be prescriptive; it relies on the common sense of the membership. It provides broad strokes for a set of important ethical principles that are especially pertinent to the field of biomedical informatics. The code encompasses the common roles played by AMIA members and the constituents they serve. The AMIA Board and the AMIA Ethics Committee encourage AMIA members to flesh out gaps in coverage and scope. We are especially interested in real-world examples of ethical situations members have encountered. Learning from examples, and the changes suggested from feedback will help the code to evolve to better serve the informatics community.
As a member of the American Medical Informatics Association, I acknowledge my professional duty to uphold the following principles and guidelines of ethical conduct.
The authors and the AMIA Ethics Committee thank the AMIA Board of Directors for their continuing interest in refining and publicizing these guidelines. Additional comments on the code were provided by Dan Stein and Kristina Thomas. Karen Greenwood played a very important role as the AMIA staff member in organizing the Committees’ work. Other members of the AMIA Ethics Committee who contributed to drafts of the code include: Mureen Allen, MBBS, Joseph Catapano, MD, Oscar Gyde, MD, Carol Hope, PharmD, and Helga Rippen, MD, PhD, MPH.