Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 246–248 | Cite as

The challenge of local consent requirements for global critical care databases

  • Stuart McLennanEmail author
  • David Shaw
  • Leo Anthony Celi
What's New in Intensive Care

Health care systems around the world are increasingly using the large amount of routinely collected health data to understand health and disease processes better and to drive continuous improvement [1]. Critical care medicine has been at the forefront of these efforts, with several commercial and non-commercial ICU databases having been developed in a number of countries [2]. Such databases have the potential to be socially very valuable, supporting research, education, and quality improvement initiatives [3]. Linking databases across centres and countries can also increase their generalisability and accelerate knowledge discovery [2]. While activities that effectively utilise routine data to optimise and individualise care are urgently needed, efforts to create and link such databases can be undermined by concerns about data protection. These concerns are only likely to intensify as available data for research becomes more finely grained and more diverse (e.g. medical images,...


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

This work was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation’s National Research Programme “Smarter Health Care” (NRP 74) and the Universität Basel’s Forschungsfonds for excellent young researchers. LAC works at the Laboratory for Computational Physiology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which developed and maintains the Medical Information Mart for Intensive Care (MIMIC) database. The authors have no other competing interests to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature and ESICM 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Biomedical EthicsUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep MedicineBeth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterBostonUSA
  3. 3.Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Division of Health Sciences and TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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