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By: Darrell Laferty, Mon Jun 11th, 2012
According to Tech Target, corporate
governance refers to the regulations, external and internal, which direct a
corporation’s ethical movements. The term refers to 'best practices' and has been in the
news frequently of late. While most companies do their best to behave ethically towards
clients, some corporate leaders have abused their positions and have even behaved
criminally towards their clients, destroying the reputations of entire companies.
Consumers and colleagues have paid the price for this behavior, which is why a variety
of regional, national, and international bodies exist to regulate corporate behavior.
Within the context of medical informatics, corporate governance refers to the way
health care information is stored and accessed (Wikipedia). While the internet has made
online medical services accessible to a large population, it has also opened the doors
to security and safety concerns. The internet is a challenging world to police.
Corporate thinkers suggest that all employees be made aware of the security
issues. In other words, it is in the interests of, not just managers, but every member of
staff to behave with concern for consumer rights. At companies such as Informed
Clinical Sciences, their mission statement indicates that they will 'enrich the health care
experience' using technology. This means that clients using their systems must be
protected against virtual privacy infringements. As a means of enacting corporate
governance, their website lists a series of top players, and names their roles.
There is a good reason why medical informatics should be so carefully regulated. It is
increasingly common for individuals to access medical information online and even to
communicate with healthcare professionals in this way, sharing private and sensitive
information about their health. This leaves them at twofold risk. First of all, they are
sharing personal information and relying on the professionalism of a clinician who will
prescribe or give advice online. Not only do individuals and clinicians interact in this way,
but consumers are able to get prescriptions and order powerful medications online. This
means their financial information enters the virtual world where hackers are known to
find credit card and other identifying details.
Regulatory bodies need to work hard to ensure that customers are not being misled
regarding products, and that their personal safety is protected. It has only been a few
years since consultations of this kind were conducted in the virtual realm on a regular
basis. This makes them harder to assess, more difficult to rate and standardize.
Companies need to enact internal means of regulation to protect consumers from poor
practices while securing any financial transactions rigidly.