In this article, the authors propose an ethical framework for using and sharing clinical data for the development of artificial intelligence (AI) applications. The philosophical premise is as follows: when clinical data are used to provide care, the primary purpose for acquiring the data is fulfilled. At that point, clinical data should be treated as a form of public good, to be used for the benefit of future patients. In their 2013 article, Faden et al argued that all who participate in the health care system, including patients, have a moral obligation to contribute to improving that system. The authors extend that framework to questions surrounding the secondary use of clinical data for AI applications. Specifically, the authors propose that all individuals and entities with access to clinical data become data stewards, with fiduciary (or trust) responsibilities to patients to carefully safeguard patient privacy, and to the public to ensure that the data are made widely available for the development of knowledge and tools to benefit future patients. According to this framework, the authors maintain that it is unethical for providers to "sell" clinical data to other parties by granting access to clinical data, especially under exclusive arrangements, in exchange for monetary or in-kind payments that exceed costs. The authors also propose that patient consent is not required before the data are used for secondary purposes when obtaining such consent is prohibitively costly or burdensome, as long as mechanisms are in place to ensure that ethical standards are strictly followed. Rather than debate whether patients or provider organizations "own" the data, the authors propose that clinical data are not owned at all in the traditional sense, but rather that all who interact with or control the data have an obligation to ensure that the data are used for the benefit of future patients and society.
© RSNA, 2020 See also the editorial by Krupinski in this issue.