Hub Talk #2 – mHealth and ethics

Last 10th March, the European Innovation and Knowledge mHealth Hub held the second session of the Hub Talks 2021 series, a dialogue organised together with WHO, ITU and the European Commission, to discuss on different mHealth aspects.

This second webinar focussed on mHealth and ethics, with the participation of experts from the European mHealth Hub (PCHA as part of HIMSS and MD|OG), as well as CEN/TC 251 and AAL programme, that looked at very many different aspects of the ethical challenges that exist in bringing an mHealth product to market and providing an mHealth service.

The event was well received by the public, consolidating the Hub Talks 2021 as a relevant opportunity for knowledge sharing, and more than 50 people attended and participated in the discussion generated.

The session was opened by Belén Sotillos, member of the European mHealth Hub’s Team, to make a brief presentation on the Hub and their activities.

The session went on with the contribution from Hub partners Petra Wilson (Personal Connected Health Alliance, a part of HIMSS) and Gaston Remmers (Mijn Data Onze Gezondheid), who showed the mHealth Hub Quick Guide to Ethics for the mHealth service provision, with four big headings: Transparency, Agency, Accountability and Equitable Access. One of the key messages was that, although privacy is really important, it is not the only ethical issue that is relevant in mHealth.


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To follow, Petra Hoogendoorn on behalf of CEN/TC251 shared the Key ethical elements of the CEN-ISO/DTS 82304-2 assessment framework. In her presentation, she referred to the two main questions in 82304-2’s ethics section; “Are ethical challenges of the health app assessed with the intended users and health professionals?” and “Is the health app approved by an independent ethics advisor or ethics advisory board?”. She also explained the annex of ethical considerations in health apps, and mapped the four principles explained by the mHealth Hub to this framework. She finished her intervention stressing the importance of making quality transparent for people with different levels in health literacy and information needs.


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The talks were closed by Marco Carulli, from AAL programme, who offered a summary of the AAL guidelines on ethics, data privacy and security published in 2020. The content of this document, which guidelines are currently being tested in a few selected projects, can be inspiring for any actor involved in the development of ICT solutions for ageing well.


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These presentations were followed by some time for discussion, where the speakers and the audience outlined several points of interest, like:

  • Ways of enabling and empowering citizens to be more engaged, for example with regard to consent and privacy statements.
  • Supervision of ethical requirements compliance.
  • More diverse business models; balance between regulation and market opportunities.
  • Look at the whole value chain of data, not just app developers, to have a precise understanding of what good data uses are.
  • Limitations of the “client” or “consumer” concept in the health domain, when we refer to patients.

The session became more interactive with the use of four Mentimeter questions and the chat as an active resource for audience participation, with the support of Gaston Remmers and Elinaz Mahdavy.


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The video where you can watch the presentations of every speaker is available here.


We look forward to seeing you at the third Hub Talks about mHealth policies, to be held end April 2021.

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