BMC Medical Ethics 23 (1):1-12 (2022)

Authors
Deborah Mascalzoni
Uppsala University
Abstract
BackgroundHealth data-driven activities have become central in diverse fields, and new ethical challenges have arisen with regards to privacy, integrity, and appropriateness of use. To ensure the protection of individuals’ fundamental rights and freedoms in a changing environment, including their right to the protection of personal data, we aim to identify the ethical approaches adopted by scientists during intensive data exploitation when collecting, using, or sharing peoples’ health data.MethodsTwelve scientists who were collecting, using, or sharing health data in different contexts in Sweden, were interviewed. We used systematic expert interviews to access these scientists’ specialist knowledge, and analysed the interviews with thematic analysis. Phrases, sentences, or paragraphs through which ethical values and norms were expressed, were identified and coded. Codes that reflected similar concepts were grouped, subcategories were formulated, and categories were connected to traditional ethical approaches.ResultsThrough several examples, the respondents expressed four different ethical approaches, which formed the main conceptual categories: consideration of consequences, respect for rights, procedural compliance, and being professional.ConclusionsTo a large extent, the scientists’ ethical approaches were consistent with ethical and legal principles. Data sharing was considered important and worth pursuing, even though it is difficult. An awareness of the complex issues involved in data sharing was reflected from different perspectives, and the respondents commonly perceived a general lack of practical procedures that would by default ensure ethical and legally compliant data collection and sharing. We suggest that it is an opportune time to move on from policy discussions to practical technological ethics-by-design solutions that integrate these principles into practice.
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DOI 10.1186/s12910-022-00779-8
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Empirical Ethics, Context-Sensitivity, and Contextualism.Albert Musschenga - 2005 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (5):467 – 490.

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