Articles  |    |  December 21, 2020

Ethical issues in using ambient intelligence in health-care settings

Article by Nicole Martinez-Martin, Zelun Luo, et al.
Published in The Lancet Digital Health.


Ambient intelligence is increasingly finding applications in health-care settings, such as helping to ensure clinician and patient safety by monitoring staff compliance with clinical best practices or relieving staff of burdensome documentation tasks. Ambient intelligence involves using contactless sensors and contact-based wearable devices embedded in health-care settings to collect data (eg, imaging data of physical spaces, audio data, or body temperature), coupled with machine learning algorithms to efficiently and effectively interpret these data. Despite the promise of ambient intelligence to improve quality of care, the continuous collection of large amounts of sensor data in health-care settings presents ethical challenges, particularly in terms of privacy, data management, bias and fairness, and informed consent. Navigating these ethical issues is crucial not only for the success of individual uses, but for acceptance of the field as a whole.


  • Nicole Martinez-Martin, PhD
  • Zelun Luo, MS
  • Amit Kaushal, MD
  • Ehsan Adeli, PhD
  • Albert Haque, MS
  • Sara S Kelly, BA
  • Sarah Wieten, MD
  • Prof Mildred K Cho, PhD
  • Prof David Magnus, PhD
  • Prof Li Fei-Fei, PhD
  • Prof Kevin Schulman, MD
  • Prof Arnold Milstein, MD