Varsity medical ethics debate 2018: constant health monitoring - the advance of technology into healthcare

The 2018 Varsity Medical Ethics debate convened upon the motion: “This house believes that the constant monitoring of our health does more harm than good”. This annual debate between students from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge is now in its tenth year. This year’s debate was hosted at the Oxford Union on 8th of February 2018, with Oxford winning for the Opposition, and was the catalyst for the collation and expansion of ideas in this paper.New technological devices have the potential to enhance patient autonomy, improve patient safety, simplify the management of chronic diseases, increase connectivity between patients and healthcare professionals and assist individuals to make lifestyle changes to improve their health. However, these are pitted against an encroachment of technology medicalising the individual and home, an exacerbation of health inequalities, a risk to the security of patient data, an alteration of the doctor-patient relationship dynamic and an infringement on individual self-identity. This paper will draw upon and develop these concepts, while contending arguments for and against constant health monitoring. This is not a review of medical devices and health monitoring, but a reflective development and more detailed elaboration of the main points highlighted in the 2018 Varsity Medical Ethics debate.
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DOI 10.1186/s13010-018-0065-0
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