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Posted: Thursday, February 6th, 2020
JOB TITLE: 3 PhD researchers
DEADLINE: Friday, April 10th, 2020
LOCATION: Ghent University
Ghent, Belgium
Vacancy in Health Privacy Law PhD student for Health Privacy Law will be working on a project with a focus on principle of transparency in health data processing. Development of new diagnostics tools, therapeutic devices and drugs are increasingly supported by collection and access to clinical, research and Real-World Data (RWD). Processing of personal data may fall under various lawful grounds such as consent, public interest or legitimate interest, and should be in compliance with the principles of data protection including “lawfulness, fairness and transparency”. Regardless of what is considered as the lawful basis for processing data, the principle of transparency in data protection requires data controllers to provide data subjects with adequate information about various aspects of processing. However, the questions remain about the best practices in communication of relevant information to the patients and the individuals in order to both fulfill legal requirements and meet the expectations of data subjects in this regard. In this research project, the PhD student will study the associated legal, ethical, and technical challenges regarding enhancing transparency in processing health data, and assess the adequacy of the relevant policies and mechanisms. Based on the results of this project we aim to develop recommendations to foster transparency around processing of health data for public and private scientific research. The research will take place in the stimulating environment of the METAMEDICA platform, the Department of Criminology, Penal Law and Social Law and PIXLES platform. Vacancy in Medical Ethics The PhD student with expertise in Medical Ethics will be working on the project “Ethical concerns linked to healthcare innovations bypassing the physician”. A double trend is currently noticeable in healthcare innovation. First, there is a trend towards expensive new treatment methods (such as precision oncology, immunotherapy or gene therapy), offered by highly specialized physicians in hyper-equipped facilities. Second, there is a trend going in a completely different direction, namely towards cheap and accessible methods of health monitoring, disease diagnosis or susceptibility prediction, which requires less or even no skills at all from trained medical personnel and/or can be delivered in the patient’s living room (such as health care apps, wearables and direct-to-consumer genetic testing). Given that high costs and limited access are ethically problematic features of healthcare, the prospect of this second category of innovations leading to affordability and convenience is appealing and to be welcomed in principle, especially if it would lead to better care for patients that have been historically underserved. However, these innovations come with a number of concerns which do not map well onto the classic model of medical ethics, which is premised on the doctor-patient relationship. Certain duties that the physician has towards her patients (such as safeguarding confidentiality and seeking their informed consent) now risk disappearing from medical care, thus exposing the patient/consumer of medical care to a number of risks. This project seeks to determine the concrete ethical concerns that arise when the physician is sidelined and to suggest new ways of safeguarding patients while at the same time empowering them. The research will take place in the stimulating environment of the METAMEDICA platform and the Bioethics Institute Ghent (BIG). Vacancy in Health Law PhD student for Health Law will be working on a project with a focus on rethinking the organization of daily care. Technical devices, robots, medical apps, etc. will force the healthcare professional in his daily practice to work in a different way. Increasingly certain tasks will be provided by robots within the medical practice or even at the patient’s home; AI-applications will support the healthcare professional in his decision-support; medicals apps will be the new medicines of the future. Although the sky seems to be the limit, in order for these technological and digital innovation in healthcare to be effective, the current way of organization healthcare needs to be revised. This implies inter alia task shifts for individual healthcare professionals and within healthcare structures, a reimbursement system including these innovations, but also a framework to guarantee the quality and safety of the healthcare provided to the patient. It poses questions regarding responsibility, liability and accountability. This project seeks to determine the new legal framework for the daily healthcare practice in order for the technological and digital innovations in healthcare to be effective, without neglecting the guarantee to provide a qualitative healthcare to the patient. The research will take place in the stimulating environment of the METAMEDICA platform, the Department of Public Health and Primary Care of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, and the platform of Quality and Safety Ghent. Link:

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