Ethical and Legal Challenges of Digital Medicin in Pandemics (forthcoming in both German & English): Chances, Risks & Trade-Offs

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportBidrag til bog/antologiForskningfagfællebedømt

The Covid-19 pandemic, and the associated mobility restrictions, contact bans, cell phone monitoring apps and other strategies to contain chains of infection, has led to a clear increase in the use of digital applications in public and private healthcare in the past year. The possibility of avoiding contact through remote monitoring of patients in hospitals and in the home care sector also contributed to this trend. Improved data analyzes in the research, development and testing of new therapies, as well as the growing potential of artificial intelligence for diagnostic methods and vaccine candidates developed in an urgent manner, also resulted in an increased demand and use of digital tools among doctors, patients, hospitals and researchers and companies.

Although many of these new digital possibilities received great approval and support from the population, it soon became apparent that not all applications were technically fully developed and that new answers to a wide range of risks and security deficiencies had to be found (Lizzie O'Shea, 2020 ). The use of these technical innovations was therefore not only accompanied by socio-economic and political discussions, but also by ethical and legal debates. Issues such as data protection, cybersecurity, consent, transparency, discrimination, property and fair distribution and access to digital opportunities play an important role here. In addition, the pandemic not only had a direct impact on various urgent laws and the ethical debates on hazard prevention and the organization of the health system. In Germany in particular, the interaction of the COVID-19 crisis with a number of groundbreaking laws in the field of digital medicine that had been planned for a long time was also recently revealed. The only examples here are the recently passed Digital Supply Act (Digital Supply Act - DVG, 2019), including the Hospital Future Act ((Hospital Future Act - KHZG, 2020). It quickly became clear that the COVID-19 pandemic intensified the sometimes heated debates about these new laws, thereby further highlighting the burning questions at the intersection of ethics and law.

Against this background, in the next section 2 we will first give a brief overview of the possibilities and areas of application of digital medicine in pandemics. Our selection focuses primarily on case studies that have emerged in the current COVID-19 pandemic, and which we consider to be particularly relevant for the discussion of ethical and legal issues. In section 3 we will then briefly discuss the meaning of the interaction between ethics and law, which also includes the question of the distinction between ethics and law. This provides the basis for a more detailed discussion of selected issues in Section 4, which not only clarifies ethical and legal problem areas and risks, but also shows possible solutions. Section 5 almost finally summarizes the results of our brief investigation and provides an outlook on future challenges and opportunities.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TitelPandemics and Ethics
RedaktørerAndreas Alois Reis, Matina Schmidhuber, Andreas Frewer
Antal sider40
ForlagSpringer
StatusAccepteret/In press - 2021

ID: 259510386