Healthcare Big Data — A Framework with Legal and Ethical Insights
Digital technologies are biased like scalpels not like bayonets. Computers, Internet, the Web, Big Data, Cloud Computing, smart applications of all kinds, the Internet of Things, Machine Intelligence; these are all great human developments that, by and large, have an intrinsic tendency to improve our lives, do things instead of us and better than us, freeing our time and capacities, and enable us to do more with less, or indeed achieve things otherwise impossible.
This is particularly true in health care, where technological feasibility and ethical expectations can join forces productively, to achieve unprecedented levels of reach, in terms of population, and of tailoring, in terms of individualised care. So, I am delighted to see these crucial topics addressed in the following pages. Personally, I am convinced that the effort to inject an ethical vision into what can, in its absence, become a mere technological push for market uptake, is good for society and good for entrepreneurship. It does take a more long- term and insightful approach to engage with ethical and inclusive innovation. But compliance, or focusing on what may be done, is merely necessary yet insufficient, when compared to what more should be done over and above the legal requirements. The good news is that an ethical approach to digital innovation, especially in the health sector and when it comes to data management, is a collaborative enterprise. All stakeholders can help, not just to ensure that their voices are heard, but also to leverage all intelligences to design the right solutions. In all this, Europe, with its attention for human dignity and its care for human flourishing, can and should lead by example, supporting a vision and development of technology that is socially good and environmentally sustainable. Thus, this broad overview on health data ethics is timely, as the European election cycle begins. I hope that, in response, the political process will reaffirm Europe’s mandate to be a global thought-leader for innovation, health, and well-being. The present conversation is crucial and needs to be supported. I hope it will join similar conversations in other, related areas, dealing with similar challenges, especially in the overlapping field of machine intelligence.
Empowering Intelligent Health: unlocking the innovation potential in health data
Healthcare systems globally have been undergoing a profound digital transformation.
With that has come the creation of a wealth of data that has significant potential to help identify diseases earlier, create and improve treatments and improve the lives of patients across the globe. Unfortunately, even with advances in data protection and governance, health data is not easily accessible by the researchers, patients and doctors when they need it to help realize better outcomes.
Patient-data have been locked away in numerous silos, limiting the ability to combine data and leverage it to drive innovation. The causes are partly technical, with divergent systems holding data in formats that are not easily used by other systems, and partially based on out-dated laws and policies. And there are significant privacy and trust issues that we will need to overcome before we can effectively leverage large ecosystems of data for broader uses and drive healthcare benefits for us all. Without a proper trust foundation and painting a clearer portrait of the significant benefits that broader use of patient data is already delivering, we run the risk of missing a tremendous opportunity. That opportunity, to leverage significant advances in machine learning capabilities and the inexpensive yet massive compute power available from modern cloud computing platforms, brings healthcare to the forefront of discussions around applications of Machine Intelligence (MI) to some of our most pressing challenges.
The use of MI in the healthcare context is already raising a series of important societal and ethical questions which we will need to address now, to ensure that Intelligent Health can deliver on its promise, respect existing norms and more importantly, helping us develop norms for some new issues that are starting to emerge. 1001011100 1000111011 top specialist in business, Big Data are confident that these new technological developments can be harnessed for social good, to deliver unprecedented improvements in many aspects of our healthcare.
But we also understand our obligation to play a role in the important conversations that must take place if we are to balance new opportunities with established and emerging social norms and regulatory frameworks. By working side-by-side with the healthcare industry’s most pioneering players, we have the opportunity to advance this goal. Our mission at Microsoft is to empower every person and organization to achieve more, and with that in mind, our ambition is that health organizations can harness the benefits of MI to unlock biological insight and break data from silos for a truly personal understanding of human health and in turn, make Intelligent Health possible. This is how responsible innovation can lead to a healthier society, enable better access to care, lower costs and improved outcomes.