Eight guiding principles for caring technology

Wherever technology is used to improve people’s health-related quality of life in their daily lives and their wellbeing, the guiding principles set out below can offer guidance on how to act:

Promote humane technology and citizen-centred data management


Ensure that the role of technology and use of data always facilitate and support people and that they remain at the service of people and society. Maximise opportunities for citizens to make their own decisions based on their care needs, support requirements and health-related wishes.


Encourage ongoing collaboration among all the actors involved, through the creation of an integrated technological ecosystem in which interoperability, standardised protocols and open-source (basic) technology are all self-evident. Support patients and citizens to allow them to participate optimally in the development and adoption of this ecosystem.


Provide honest, reliable, transparent and easily understandable information about innovations in care and health. Make sure people are able to make choices in a truly informed and independent way (true consent) by objectively representing the usefulness, scope, pros and cons of innovations so that people can have confidence in the products they choose.

Support societal anchoring


Improve trust between people and organisations in regard to the use of data and data-driven innovations, by allowing them to have ownership of their own data. Support citizens to share these data safely and use it to leverage their own personal well-being and promote the public interest.


Promote technological literacy, health skills and participation among all citizens. Make lifelong learning for all a goal. Ensure that no-one is left behind, including vulnerable and underprivileged people and those needing special attention. Innovation should be focused on reducing both the digital gap and the health gap rather than further widening them.

Stimulate participatory governance


Develop participative and adaptive governance for the innovation system. Encourage citizens and stakeholders to participate actively in this. Make flexible but effective adjustments to policy on the basis of new data, experience, evidence and growing expertise.

Monitor quality and systemic coherence


Develop quality assurance systems for the whole innovation trajectory, i.e. cover the periods before, during and after the development and deployment of technology and the use of data. There must be controls on the content, safety, transparency of information, and on its traceability, usefulness and effectiveness. Knowledge gained through experience must have a place alongside scientific evidence. Introduce quality labels to communicate the results of these controls and assessments.


Monitor and evaluate to ensure that the actions taken remain coherent with health and care goals within wider frameworks of prevention, ethics and sustainability. Integrate sustainability objectives and appropriate ethical principles (e.g. human rights) in the innovation growth pathway.

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