The Case for a Hippocratic Oath for Connected Medical Devices: Viewpoint

J Med Internet Res. 2019 Mar 19;21(3):e12568. doi: 10.2196/12568.


Prior to graduating from medical school, soon-to-be physicians take the Hippocratic Oath, a symbolic declaration to provide care in the best interest of patients. As the medical community increasingly deploys connected devices to deliver patient care, a critical question emerges: should the manufacturers and adopters of these connected technologies be governed by the symbolic spirit of the Hippocratic Oath? In 2016, I Am The Cavalry, a grassroots initiative from the cybersecurity research community, published the first Hippocratic Oath for Connected Medical Devices (HOCMD), containing 5 principles. Over the past three years, the HOCMD has gained broad support and influenced regulatory policy. We introduce 5 case studies of the HOCMD in practice, illustrating how the 5 principles can lead to a safer and more effective adoption of connected medical technologies.

Keywords: connected devices; cybersecurity; delivery of health care; ethics; information technology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Equipment and Supplies / standards*
  • Ethics, Medical
  • Hippocratic Oath*
  • Humans
  • Information Technology / standards*