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Current Directions in Biomedical Engineering

Joint Journal of the German Society for Biomedical Engineering in VDE and the Austrian and Swiss Societies for Biomedical Engineering

Editor-in-Chief: Dössel, Olaf

Editorial Board: Augat, Peter / Buzug, Thorsten M. / Haueisen, Jens / Jockenhoevel, Stefan / Knaup-Gregori, Petra / Kraft, Marc / Lenarz, Thomas / Leonhardt, Steffen / Malberg, Hagen / Penzel, Thomas / Plank, Gernot / Radermacher, Klaus M. / Schkommodau, Erik / Stieglitz, Thomas / Urban, Gerald A.

CiteScore 2018: 0.47

Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.377

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Interactive Implants: Ethical, legal and social implications

Wiebke Droste
  • Corresponding author
  • Institut für Deutsches, Europäisches und Internationales Medizinrecht, Gesundheitsrecht und Bioethik der Universitäten Heidelberg und Mannheim (IMGB), Schloss/Postfach, 68161 Mannheim, Deutschland
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  • Other articles by this author:
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/ Peter Hoffmann / Heidi Olze
  • Klinik für Hals-, Nasen-, Ohrenheilkunde, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
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/ Werner Kneist
  • Klinik für Allgemein-, Viszeral – und Transplantationschirurgie, Universitätsmedizin Mainz, Mainz, Germany
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/ Thilo Krüger / Rüdiger Rupp / Marc Ruta
Published Online: 2018-09-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cdbme-2018-0004


The use of intelligent implants and prostheses offers significant advances for optimizing medical treatment methods and is combined with an increasing technological modification of human body. This raises many exciting questions concerning law, ethics and social implications: Does the use of these techniques stay in line with our legal system and if yes, can the technical use be limited by governmental restrictions under certain conditions? Have moral values to be incorporated into technical artifacts? If machines are recreated from human beings, do they have to be provided with a legal subjectivity? Medical devices must be compatible with a high level of protection of health and safety. Therefore challenges, which are consequences of the indeterminate behaviour and the autonomous learning abilities of artificial intelligence, have to be faced. For avoidance of any hazards for legally protected rights medical product manufacturers have to assume legal duties, which affect construction, instruction and product development. For medical professionals there are also liabilities of maintenance measures and technical control that have to be accomplished. Associated with the use of intelligent medical devices is the processing of personal data on health. Health data have a high potential for misuse and discrimination and therefore they’re in need of special protection, particularly with regard to the development of “Big Data”, “Ubiquitous computing”, “Internet of Things” and constantly increasing cybercrime. If damages are suffered from the use of intelligent medical devices, difficulties in determining infringing acts, causality and culpability occur, especially because of the missing view into the technical progress of decision-making. It has to be explored, if the current liability law is able to assign responsibility adequately, otherwise there has to be found an appropriate concept for liability.

About the article

Published Online: 2018-09-22

Published in Print: 2018-09-01

Citation Information: Current Directions in Biomedical Engineering, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 13–16, ISSN (Online) 2364-5504, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cdbme-2018-0004.

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