Intended for healthcare professionals

Analysis Commentary

Information without wisdom

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: (Published 05 July 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3203
  1. Iona Heath, former general practitioner
  1. London, UK
  1. iona.heath22{at}

This is the dystopian future: health related data are to be harvested from a huge variety of digital sources, including biometric sensors attached to individual bodies. This information is then fed back to the supposedly autonomous person and can be used to trigger algorithms and offer possibilities for remedial interventions.1

Technology is remarkably seductive and may delude us into thinking that the human condition is changing faster than it really is. Big data, biometric sensors, and the vaunted promise of e-health have undoubted contributions to make to contemporary healthcare but fall far short of delivering the moral core of medicine that has always been the relief …

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