School of Computing

Digital Ethics in Healthcare

Digital Ethics in Healthcare


This course explores ethical considerations relating to digital innovation in healthcare and health systems. It will consider how broader debates around digital ethics (e.g. relating to artificial intelligence and data collection and reuse) apply in health contexts. 

It will focus on the uses of data in healthcare and health systems and ethical considerations relating to data collection, storage and use/reuse. This includes use of data in developing and utilising new technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

The course also consider broader issues around digital ethics to focus on practical examples and actual clinical applications. The learners will examine current governance mechanisms in place to address digital ethics and a range of approaches that can be employed (including the role of Patient and Public Involvement in the use/reuse of health data).

The course covers:

  1. Background: why digital ethics?
  2. Examples of ethical dilemmas in digital innovation particularly in health contexts
  3. Consideration of practical examples in relation to clinical applications
  4. Current governance mechanisms and approaches: including regulation, policy, the role of Caldicott Guardian, and Patient and Public Involvement (PPI)

Date and time: Thursday 28 January 28 13:00 – 14:00
Fee: £120 one off session
Book the whole Health Informatics programme of 10 sessions for £1000

Digital Ethics in Healthcare: GP in consultation with patient

Course Lecturer

Dr Mhairi Aitken

Mhairi is a Senior Research Associate at Newcastle University. Her research examines social and ethical considerations relating to digital innovation, particularly around data science and Artificial Intelligence (AI).  Her research has focussed in particular on data-intensive health research and uses of AI in the banking sector.

Previously, she was a Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh where she held roles as a Public Engagement Research Fellow in both the Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research and the Scottish Health Informatics Programme (SHIP). As a research fellow, she worked on two consecutive large interdisciplinary and multi-institution projects, examining social and ethical dimensions of innovation in health informatics research and their implications for governance.

Mhairi has been a guest lecturer/tutor between 2016 and 2018 on University of Edinburgh’s Distance Learning MSc Global EHealth. As part of this role, she developed online tutorials, online course materials, and participated in discussion forums with students. Mhairi holds a PhD and a Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods from The Robert Gordon University.