Institutional Liability in the E-Health Era

Canadian Journal of Law and Technology, Vol. 9, Issue 1, 2011

32 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2011 Last revised: 22 Feb 2014

See all articles by James Bryan Williams

James Bryan Williams

University of Toronto - Department of Computer Science; Google Inc.; York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Craig Kuziemsky

University of Ottawa, Telfer School of Management

Date Written: September 6, 2011

Abstract

This paper discusses the liability of health care organizations for certain classes of medical error. We argue that the existing jurisprudence is outdated, containing numerous assumptions that have been rendered obsolete by the advent of electronic health information technologies. The use of information and communication technology in the health care domain has profound implications for health care organizations, health care professionals and patients. Among other effects seldom discussed in the literature, these technologies can alter the way in which health care professionals conduct their activities and exercise judgment. Responsibility for system-level errors arising from these technologies should not be attributed to individual health care professionals, as control over the technology effectively lies with either the health care organization, or higher level entities such as standards bodies or government agencies. As a result, we believe that the existing jurisprudence on liability must be reconsidered, as it has been outpaced by developments in technology and systems engineering. Since systems level errors will become more commonplace, we believe that hospitals and government agencies should no longer be absolved of responsibility in this context.

Keywords: ehealth, health law, vicarious liability, duties of institutions, medical malpractice, healthcare ict

Suggested Citation

Williams, James Bryan and Kuziemsky, Craig, Institutional Liability in the E-Health Era (September 6, 2011). Canadian Journal of Law and Technology, Vol. 9, Issue 1, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1911991

James Bryan Williams (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Department of Computer Science ( email )

Sandford Fleming Building
King’s College Road, Room 3302
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G4
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.james-williams.ca

Google Inc.

1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Second Floor
Mountain View, CA 94043
United States

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

Craig Kuziemsky

University of Ottawa, Telfer School of Management ( email )

136 Jean-Jacques Lussier Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5
Canada

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