Digital health is a booming sector, and many technologies have arguably been pushed out without due ethical consideration. Nevertheless, ethics are increasingly on the agenda for the sector, and more and more publications are being published on the topic. There are, however, no existing guidelines are specifically aimed at the unique position of charities looking to bring digital health solutions and their potential benefits to patients.
Owing to this gap, the AMRC commissioned DataKind UK to undertake research into the existing ethical principles that are applicable to health and medical research charities working within digital health. This research, in combination with input from charities and ethics experts, allowed a set of core principles to be distilled in the resulting ethical framework 'Navigating the Digital Health Ethics Landscape: A framework for understanding ethical principles for digital health', providing a basis for charities to work from in the digital health space.
Many projects that charities undertake within digital health will be in collaboration with other organisations who have relevant expertise, often digital technology companies. For this reason, the core ethical principles identified were built upon to develop a document outlining questions that could be asked of industry partners, enabling charities to consider the potential ethical implications of any collaborations: ‘Navigating the Digital Health Ethics Landscape: Questions for charities to ask digital technology company partners’. This sits alongside ‘Digital Essential Partnerships: a guide for charities working with digital technology companies’ which provides a practical overview of the stages an industry collaboration within digital health might involve and guidance on how to navigate these.