Rethinking Patient Consent in the Era of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data

Rethinking Patient Consent in the Era of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
Feature Opinion
Amy L. Kotsenas, Patricia Balthazar, David Andrews, J. Raymond Geis, Tessa S. Cook
Journal of the American College of Radiology, 1 January 2021; 18(1) pp 180-184
Open Access
Electronic data allow health care workers and industry to analyze large data sets for population health and to develop artificial intelligence (AI) tools. Researchers may find patterns in the data to prevent disease, understand disease risk and cause, improve diagnosis, develop new treatments, improve patient safety, and evaluate health care policy. These new uses of massive amounts of patient data often result in retrospective data mining for purposes not anticipated when patients consented to allow their data to be used. Some propose that freely available data will ultimately benefit patients and the greater good. However, once data are freely available, users no longer control them, and the data may be used for any reason. It is fair to say that these data will be used by industry, and in health care organizations, in unanticipated ways that lead to financial gain, which may conflict with ethical standards for patient privacy and confidentiality. Perceiving data as a commodity to be used in any way that maximizes profit or income will lead to ethical lapses if clear policies and guidelines are not quickly established…

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