Research and development in life sciences will assume even greater importance as will information governance around the use of apps25/01/21
This article is published as part of Capsticks’ Medical Malpractice Forward View 2021.
Bill Gates’ 2015 TED talk "The next outbreak? We're not ready" predicted the likely challenges in the event of a worldwide pandemic such as now. In contrast to the Ebola outbreak in 2013/14 which was limited almost entirely to three West African countries, he imagined a virus where those who do not know they are infected, feel well enough to travel on a plane or to a market. He concluded that even with the development of vaccines, global health systems would need to use technology such as mobile phones and satellite maps to ‘track and trace’ the public, in order to prevent another pandemic. His ideas seem prescient, given the success of many South East Asian countries in combatting COVID-19 using such means, as compared with the West where the use of technology has been less effective. The current pandemic and the response of those in life sciences who have helped develop a vaccine shows how this sector will continue to gain prominence as research into new variants of Covid and other viruses.
The legal issues for healthcare organisations using technology efforts to fight any future pandemic are likely to centre on information governance. As the app will process personal data, organisations need to ensure demonstrable compliance with GDPR. The harvested data will need to be kept confidential, safe and secure, limited to what is necessary and not kept longer than necessary. All organisations involved will need systems, policies, processes and training in place to ensure everyone who interacts with personal data, knows how it should be used.
Finally cyber risk is more prevalent than ever and healthcare organisations will need to check the adequacy of their cyber policies to ensure the adequacy of their cover and that their organisation is complying with the reuqirements of the policy.
Medical Malpractice Forward View 2021
This article is part of Capsticks’ Medical Malpractice Forward View 2021.
Read the other articles featured in this publication below:
- Spotlight on two pending court decisions
- Decision in Maughan may lead not only to an increase in requests for an unlawful killing conclusion at inquest, but have wider consequences
- Resource issues are likely to have a significant role in determining the standard of care in claims arising during the pandemic
- Remote hearings and medical examinations are likely to continue for the foreseeable future
- Safety and learning will remain front and centre in healthcare
- The roll-out of digital healthcare is likely to continue apace
- Artificial Intelligence is likely to assist in the post-Covid recovery of healthcare services, but could be a ‘disrupter’ in healthcare law
- Research and development in life sciences will assume even greater importance as will information governance around the use of apps
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