As a part of the Emerging Technologies and Law (ETL) Department, the eHealth Research Strand addresses emerging technologies within the healthcare industry.
The WHO defines ‘eHealth’ as the use of information and communication technologies for advancement of health and health-related pursuits. Examples of emerging technologies in the healthcare industry include, for example, medical training with the use of virtual reality (Holo Lens by Microsoft), advancements in tailored health services (Personalised Healthcare or pHealth), use of emerging telecommunication technologies to provide remote clinical services to patients (Telemedicine), improvements in practice of medicine and public health through mobile technologies (mHealth), advancements in robot-assisted surgery and many more.
The rapid developments of new methods of care have radical implications for a wide array of stakeholders and often fall outside the scope of existing legislations adding uncertainty in relation to its potential legal implications. This sector has the potential to revolutionize the way individuals gain access to their healthcare information, in addition to creating a more accurate system of diagnosing and treating individuals. Arguably, along with the rapid developments come a slew of legal complications. As such, the eHealth Research Strand aims to address the current technological advancements, while simultaneously delving into the potential legal liabilities these technologies can create.
Current Research Focus
One of the pivotal issues identified within this unit tackles the attribution of liability when utilizing Artificial Intelligence for providing medical diagnosis and choice of treatment. In instances of damage to health who is the offending party? We will explore all potential avenues concerning liability, even the potential for artificial intelligence to be held liable. In ensuring that the research is not overburdened by contradicting jurisdictions or lack of information, the focus will be solely within the scope of the EU. eHealth arguably, retains the potential to shift healthcare towards the patient’s home and empower patients by providing a sense of control over their diagnosis, however, it would be irresponsible on behalf of society to neglect the potential for detrimental effects. Technology is not perfect, and there have to be measured in place to safeguard these individuals.
In parallel, we aim to explore technologies the legal, ethical and social challenges of e-Health technologies such as but not limited to autonomous surgery robots, artificial intelligence assisted medical diagnosis and use of virtual reality. These new technologies raise questions of whether or not the current EU legislative framework is comprehensive enough to encompass civil liability in instances of malfunctioning surgical robots. Once again, the topic aims at tackling the attribution of liability in regard to pre-existing and future surgical technologies.
Furthermore, the unit strives to look into addressing questions such as, whether the existing legislative frameworks are adequate to deal with the developments of robotics? How are the emerging technologies defined at the European and international level? How to balance between innovation and protection of human rights? who is liable when AI fails to perform? Which are the main ethical dilemmas regarding technology in e-Health? In doing so, the research unit seeks to address the gaps and improve the current legislative measures.
Our international team consists of determined, driven and high performing young professionals who deeply care about the pressing legislative and policy challenges affecting emerging technologies of today’s society. The team shares a common goal of providing stakeholders with comprehensive overviews and innovative recommendations enabling efficient use of emerging technologies to improve the healthcare industry.
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