Ethical Issues in an Audit Method Study of Telemedicine

Research Ethics Consortium
Studies that use audit method or "mystery-shopper technique" are widely used to understand the experiences of patients although they raise several ethical challenges. This month, we will discuss a study that uses an audit method where patients act as real patients buying birth control online from well known tele-birth control vendors. What are some of the ethical challenges surrounding the design and conduct of such a study?
Ateev Mehrotra, MD, MPH
Associate Professor Health Care Policy and Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Hospitalist, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Leslie Howes, MPH, CIP
Director, Office of Human Research Administration, Harvard Faculty of Medicine and Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
Bizu Gelaye, PhD, MPH
Co-Director, Research Ethics, Harvard Center for Bioethics, Assistant Professor, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School and Division of Global Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital