Privacy and autonomy

New technologies such as genomic and digital technologies are enabling a new era of personalised medicine in which an individual's health is finely tailored to their personal physiology and the precise nature of any underlying disease.

Such technologies are underpinned by a reliance on data, and sit on a blurred boundary between medicine and lifestyle driving a shift towards less traditional healthcare settings. Under such circumstance it seems likely that the achievement of personalised prevention will be accompanied by some loss of privacy and autonomy.

In this report we set out some of the key concepts and of privacy and autonomy and provided examples of how these could be challenged by new technologies aimed at personalised prevention. As developments in personalised medicine take place it is important that policy makers acknowledge these challenges, encourage debate about the acceptable balance of harm vs potential health benefit, and discuss and implement how developments can take place in ways that minimise harm.

This report was produced as part of the My healthy future project.

Authors:

Johan Ordish, Senior Policy Analyst

Dr Sarah Cook, Policy Analyst

Alison Hall, Head of Humanities

Dr Hilary Burton, Associate

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