Digital Ethics in Healthcare

Today, digital transformation is the biggest driver of growth for the healthcare industry. Organisations are continuously focusing on implementing strategies for a better customer/ patient experience, operational efficiency, employee engagement, and new business /care models.

In this paradigm, there is a focus on people, processes, and technologies. While the growth in technology is unprecedented, what is interesting is how the change in processes and people has ensured that organisations get the most out of their investments. Ethical management of this process affects autonomy and honour/dignity/respect of people in the digital world. As the boundaries between the digital and the real world continue to blur, there is a significant impact on the lives of consumers and service providers alike.

In Healthcare the use of technology and data has to be governed by an Ethical Code, in other words, Digital Ethics would become the key driver of digital transformation programs.

What are the key considerations in healthcare?

Well, firstly, there are legal and regulatory considerations. There are provisions in the draft Data Privacy Bill as well as the IT Act that ask for careful handling of sensitive data. These might impact any future development that the hospital had planned based on using patient data.

Secondly, several biases enter the data that cause misleading insights. These include biases like sample bias, selecting the wrong sample or exclusion bias, removing cases where the prognosis was not so good. While these biases happen at the individual level, if they find their way into a system that is being designed for decision-making, then the output is catastrophic.

Finally, at some stage, this data would be shared with the industry experts, and for research, which may be misleading for the specialty as a whole, and may not be the desired outcome in the national health’s interest.

What can be done to ensure that you are following Ethical Practices for your digital programs? To know more, download my paper on “Digital Ethics” and let me know your thoughts on the subject….

Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran

Management Thinker, Marketer, Healthcare Professional Communicator and Ideation exponent

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