Palliative care and new technologies : the use of smart sensor technologies and its impact on the Total Care principle
Background: Palliative care is an integral part of health care, which in term has become increasingly technologized in recent decades. Lately, innovative smart sensors combined with artificial intelligence promise better diagnosis and treatment. But to date, it is unclear: how are palliative care concepts and their underlying assumptions about humans challenged by smart sensor technologies (SST) and how can care benefit from SST? Aims: The paper aims to identify changes and challenges in palliative care due to the use of SST. In addition, normative guiding criteria for the use of SST are developed. Methods: The principle of Total Care used by the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) forms the basis for the ethical analysis. Drawing on this, its underlying conceptions of the human and its socio-ethical aspects are examined with a phenomenological focus. In the second step, the advantages, limitations, and socio-ethical challenges of using SST with respect to the Total Care principle are explored. Finally, ethical-normative requirements for the application of SST are derived. Results and Conclusion: First, SST are limited in their measurement capabilities. Second, SST have an impact on human agency and autonomy. This concerns both the patient and the caregiver. Third, some aspects of the Total Care principle are likely to be marginalized due to the use of SST. The paper formulates normative requirements for using SST to serve human flourishing. It unfolds three criteria according to which SST must be aligned: (1) evidence and purposefulness, (2) autonomy, and (3) Total Care.
Quality of life
Smart Sensor Technologies