UoB Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor Anita Ho, University of British Columbia, Canada

Anita Ho profile picture

Regulating mobile medical technology: the ethics and safety of self-care

Dates of visit: 17 June - 30 Jun 2018 

Anita Ho (PhD, MPH) is an Associate Professor in Bioethics at the Centre for Applied Ethics at the University of British Columbia, and an Affiliate Faculty member in the Bioethics Program of the University of California, San Francisco. She is also a Senior Researcher in Ethics Services at Providence Health Care in Vancouver, and the Section Editor (Research Ethics) for BMC Medical Ethics . Between 2014 and 2017, Anita was the Director of Undergraduate Ethics Education at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore. An international scholar and author of more than 60 journal articles and book chapters, Anita’s publications can be found in prestigious bioethics and medical journals such as the Journal of Medical Ethics , The Hastings Center Report , American Journal of Bioethics , Journal of American Geriatric Society, and Intensive Care Medicine . Anita’s current research focuses on supportive and shared decision making in diverse healthcare settings, supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Her broader research areas include ethical dimensions of incorporating innovative technologies in health care, trust and decision making in domestic and international clinical and research medicine, organizational and system ethics in medicine, cross-cultural and global health ethics, health-care access and disparity, professional-patient relationship, ethics education for health professionals, disability experiences, and various concepts of autonomy.

During her stay Dr Ho will be hosted by Dr Oliver Quick (University of Bristol School of Law).

Dr Ho will be giving the following seminars:

Control and Autonomy in Contemporary Medicine: Illusion or Reality?

Tuesday 19th June 1-2 p.m. Room 1.12, 8-10 Berkeley Square.
In recent decades, legislations regarding patients’ right to informed consent, privacy, confidentiality, and controversial procedures (e.g., abortion, assisted death) have protected the public from
unwanted or paternalistic intrusion by healthcare professionals regarding specific medical decisions. Advancing technologies and direct-to-consumer mobile medical devices have also provided patients more options to treat and monitor their conditions or promote their health. Nonetheless, larger systemic and structural factors continue to control how medicine is funded, practiced, delivered, and regulated, raising questions of whether patients have meaningful opportunities to truly exercise their agency as they navigate the medical maze. This seminar will explore the intersecting factors influencing patients’ decisional processes and available options.
Public seminar, lunch provided.


Epistemic Humility in Medicine: An Oxymoron?
Tuesday 26th June 1-2 p.m. in room 1.13, 8-10 Berkeley Square

The notions of ‘‘expert’’ and ‘‘expertise’’ imply that some people have more credibility than others on certain matters. In medicine, it is generally accepted that physicians are experts with a superior ability to accurately diagnose patients and determine a range of appropriate solutions for various clinical problems. Nonetheless, recent emphases on patient autonomy and shared decision making in Western bioethics have challenged various paternalistic assumptions in medicine regarding patients’ best interests. This presentation explores whether a professional shift towards epistemic humility -- a recognition that the clinician’s technical knowledge may be insufficient in establishing appropriate care plans, and that patients may be the experts of
their own circumstances – is an ethically and epistemologically feasible stance.
Departmental Lecture, lunch provided.