Digital Medicine as a Means of Affordable Social Medicine

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This position paper was written during a period of economic downturn towards the end of the COVID-19 crisis in Israel. It is intended for decision-makers to design a comprehensive and wise policy on the use of public medical records for research purposes, with a long-term vision that will allow leveraging the knowledge assets embedded in the public health system and the immense future return they hold, for the benefit of the public and to close gaps in the Israeli health system. The problem: Currently, the ownership of medical records used by the Research and Development, experiments, and initiatives (R&D) division of medical technologies is not clearly regulated by Israeli law. Decisions and regulations on medical records of patients in the public health system do not address the aspect of ownership at all. They do not address the regulation of public patients' rights to benefits and/or profits from research and development products based on their medical records, and therefore, in practice, there is no guarantee that the Israeli public will benefit from this medical innovation. Our perception is that in Israel, where a universal public health system exists, medical institutions benefit from a patient population that is systematically directed towards them, and thereby also from the medical information that these patients entrust to them. Any financial profit derived from this medical information should be channeled back into the public health system and/or the patients themselves, in order to promote socially advanced and accessible medicine. In light of this perception, we present in this document an economic and legal model adapted to Israel, which will enable distributive justice of the fruits of medical big data based on the patients' medical information.