Principles for Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence in Telemedicine

Project Title: Principles for ethical use of artificial intelligence in telemedicine: preparing for a paradigm shift in public health delivery

Researchers: Annabelle Monnot, Simona Tiribelli, Anmol Arora, Ping Jing Toong, Syed Fazal Hussein Shah, Sokanha Kong

Organizations: Institute for Technology & Global Health, University of Cambridge, University of Mecerata, School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge, Polygeia Global Health Think Tank


Artificial intelligence (AI) use in healthcare has increased exponentially in recent years, in part driven by digitization of patient health records and improved access to computing power. Simultaneously, there has been development of telemedicine solutions in healthcare, accelerated by requirements imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The combination of AI with telemedicine has produced unprecedented opportunities for clinical decision support tools, virtual physician consultations and remote monitoring and management. Despite the potential to improve patient care, both technologies have attracted criticism for potential ethical challenges and risks ranging from algorithmic bias and vulnerable populations’ discrimination in access to care up to patient data privacy and confidentiality. A number of relevant principles are considered for the ethical use of AI in telemedicine including: beneficence, non- maleficence, justice, autonomy, explainability, sustainability and privacy. This paper compares and analyses existing ethical frameworks for healthcare, AI and telemedicine, with reference to specific case studies, to ensure development of these technologies in a responsible manner.