ETHICAL ASPECTS OF THE USE OF INNOVATIVE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES IN CLINICAL TRIALS
Keywords:medical ethics, clinical trials, trustworthy AI
A clinical trial, according to the WHO, “is any research study that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes. Interventions include but are not restricted to drugs, cells and other biological products, surgical procedures, radiological procedures, devices, behavioural treatments, process-of-care changes, preventive care, etc”.
The application of innovative information technologies like artificial intelligence and big data analytics in clinical trial processes is a new challenge. Such systems are useful tools, and promise to enhance the healthcare management, and to optimize clinical outcomes and economic effectiveness. However, their use raises ethical and social issues.
In this direction, the European Commission in June 2018 set up the High Level Expert Group on AI, which offers guidance on a comprehensive framework for trustworthy AI. Trustworthy AI consists of three components, which should be met during the entire life cycle of the system: (1) it should be lawful, (2) it should be ethical, and (3) it should be robust.
In this article we used the focus group methodology to obtain information from experts about the ethical aspects raised when innovative information technologies like artificial intelligence and big data analytics are used in clinical trials. Feedback from the experts was also gathered regarding the usage of the proposed guidelines for trustworthy AI, as an evaluation tool for the particular case of clinical trials.
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