It is often said that if one has to reap the health benefits of the technology, it is important to win the trust of the patients.
FREMONT, CA: Recently, the researchers have warned about the ethical and legal challenges created by the spread of new electronic pills with built-in sensors.
The new electronic pills allocate data, for instance, on the state of the intestines and stomach, and this empowers doctors to diagnose diseases. The monitoring of medication can also be done through these electronic pills.
The new electronic pills with built-in sensors are already in use in Europe as well as the U.S., and they are anticipated to fill pharmacy shelves in the future.
The data allocated by the pills constitute a data trail that displays the patient’s state of health and their medicinal consumption. This delicate data, if going into the wrong hands, can significantly impact a person’s life insurance premiums or job opportunities. Therefore, complete transparency and clarity will be needed on the way the data will be used and handled by pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Electronic pills can be utilized in other things as well, such as to monitor whether proper medications are being taken by patients with mental disorders. The data about the time the patients are taking their medications is transferred to an application, and the patient is given the option to choose to give family members or friends access to the data through that app.
The question of who has the patient’s data also poses a significant number of problems. Some points may be unclear, like how the pharmaceutical manufacturers are storing the data collected in the application, whether anonymized data can be used by the manufacturer for its own analysis, how long the manufacturer can store data, and if the patient can demand the eradication of his/her data. The problem of secure data storage is specifically relevant in the view of the danger of the patient’s data in the app being hacked by using software viruses or spyware.
According to researchers, during the development of the product, it is important to consider ethical and legal issues rather than handling the issues once the product has been developed.