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A critique of the regulation of data science in healthcare research in the European Union

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posted on 2023-07-26, 15:14 authored by John M. M. Rumbold, Barbara K. Pierscionek
The EU offers a suitable milieu for the comparison and harmonisation of healthcare across different languages, cultures, and jurisdictions (albeit with a supranational legal framework), which could provide improvements in healthcare standards across the bloc. There are specific ethico-legal issues with the use of data in healthcare research that mandate a different approach from other forms of research. The use of healthcare data over a long period of time is similar to the use of tissue in biobanks. There is a low risk to subjects but it is impossible to gain specific informed consent given the future possibilities for research. Large amounts of data on a subject present a finite risk of re-identification. Consequently, there is a balancing act between this risk and retaining sufficient utility of the data. Anonymising methods need to take into account the circumstances of data sharing to enable an appropriate balance in all cases. There are ethical and policy advantages to exceeding the legal requirements and thereby securing the social licence for research. This process would require the examination and comparison of data protection laws across the trading bloc to produce an ethico-legal framework compatible with the requirements of all member states. Seven EU jurisdictions are given consideration in this critique.

History

Refereed

  • Yes

Volume

18

Issue number

1

Page range

27

Publication title

BMC Medical Ethics

ISSN

1472-6939

Publisher

BioMed Central

File version

  • Published version

Language

  • eng

Legacy posted date

2021-02-18

Legacy creation date

2021-02-18

Legacy Faculty/School/Department

ARCHIVED Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education (until September 2018)

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