• Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues Working Group

    Ethical, legal, and social issues related to health information technology are emerging as central issues. All are within the purview of AMIA’s Ethical, Legal and Social Issues Working Group, where a range of issues are discussed related to health information technology and systems.

Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues

Working Group Overview

Ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) are deeply intertwined with the practice of biomedical and health informatics. Whenever health information technologies and systems mediate interactions among people, organizations, and information resources, there are opportunities to responsibly govern access to information and influence the actions of others. Further, applications of technologies and systems have both intended and unintended effects, and these effects impact stakeholders differently. The design and implementation of health information systems must be driven by the needs of patients, healthcare providers, and society-at-large. Therefore, it is crucial to examine issues including, but not limited to, privacy, information asymmetry, authority, trust, and liability. ELSI are not static, but instead grow in parallel with the field of health informatics.


Our vision is that all developers, researchers, trainees, patients, and users of health information technologies and systems act with an understanding of ethical, legal, and social issues.


The mission of the Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues Working Group (ELSI-WG) is to promote collaboration, education, and scholarship around ELSI arising from health information technologies and systems.


  • To develop and sustain a network of people and groups addressing ELSI in biomedical and health informatics
  • To serve as liaison to the AMIA ethics committee and collaborate with other AMIA working groups on ELSI
  • To advocate for ethical and human-centered practices in applications of healthcare information technology
  • To create, maintain, and promote educational resources for professional development in ELSI
  • To support and facilitate the inclusion of patients and caregivers in discussions of ELSI

Proposed activities

  • Interested ELSI WG members, including the WG serve as a member of the AMIA ethics committee
  • Collaborate with other AMIA and non-AMIA working groups and stakeholders (e.g., AMIA mental health informatics WG)
  • Convene a bimonthly call for AMIA members
  • Author position and perspective articles on ELSI topics
  • Organize panels or workshops at AMIA symposium examining current topics
  • Develop directory of educational resources
  • Examine ways to bring perspectives of other stakeholders (such as patient advocates)

Visit the online community for this group at http://connect.amia.org/ELSI-WG

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You must be a member of AMIA and a member of the WG in order to post.

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