Case Study 8: The use of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

About the case

Artificial Intelligence is often characterized as a transformational technology for the twenty-first century. Healthcare could be the domain in which AI will have the most impact, transforming practices in, amongst others, the fields of diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, allocating resources, organizing files, and automated operations. At the same time, the application and possible dependency on AI systems within this critical domain could also negatively impact patient safety, privacy, and fair decision making. The question is to what extent these uncertain risks may justify an invocation of the precautionary principle and how this should be balanced with the large benefits AI systems are thought to offer.

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Many of the most serious risks of clinical decision support system are related to the violation of human rights, like autonomy, equal access to healthcare and privacy. The European Court of Human Rights has acknowledged the relevance of the precautionary principle in relation to human rights, but the application of the principle in relation to human rights does not seem to be an established practice

A brief summary of the case study

In his case study, he focuses on clinical decision support systems. These systems influence the reasoning behind decisions made by healthcare professionals and help to minimize harmful decisions. How can the precautionary principle help to implement such new technologies?

A short video from the case study author

In this video, Tijs Sikma, researcher at the Rathenau Institute, presents his RECIPES case study on the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare.



Partner: Rathenau Institute


Tijs Sikma, Rathenau Institute 
Rosanne Edelenbosch, Rathenau Institute 
Petra Verhoef, Rathenau Institute


Siebe Rozendal, IASS Potsdam 
Sabrina Roettger-Wirtz & Ellen de Vos, Maastricht University 
Harald Mieg, Humboldt University of Berlin  

With thanks to:

Advisory board members Linda Kool, Rathenau Institute


Video recording: Tijs Sikma (Rathenau Institute)

Animation: Lena Aebli (Ecologic Institute)

Produced by Ecologic Institute 2020,

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