Bertelsmann Stiftung (former)
Thanks to their vast resources, the tech giants have the capacity to collect and analyze massive amounts of data. This poses major ethical challenges to independent research as well as to the principles of justice and solidarity. But if we effectively address these challenges, big tech’s activities bear enormous potential in driving forward the development of an innovative learning health system. A team led by ethicist Prof. Christiane Woopen conducted a close analysis of the various perspectives involved and potential approaches to be pursued for the Foundation.
Whether it is creating software solutions for use in analyzing MRI images, systems designed to optimize bed utilization rates or applications to help with monitoring patients’ vital signs or making treatment decisions, the tech giants are a powerful driver of digitalization processes in healthcare. The innovative solutions delivered by Siemens, IBM and others have great potential to improve patient care. However, these innovations also bring about a number of changes to healthcare as a profession, presenting it with several challenges. Ethicist Prof. Christiane Woopen and a team of researchers have explored these issues in detail, presenting them in a study conducted on our behalf.
What areas of healthcare are seeing increasing activity on the part of the global tech companies? How can their products and services help improve medicine? And what are the challenges arising from the activities of these tech giants? Together with her team of researchers, ethics professor Christiane Woopen conducted on behalf of the Stiftung a comprehensive study of tech giants in the healthcare sector. In the following interview, Christiane Woopen discusses the impact of digital transformation on the field. Identifying the various opportunities and risks at hand, the ethicist calls for the government to issue a clear policy position and for a broad social debate on what role the tech giants should play in the healthcare system.