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Digital ethics

As it is our aim to develop and use new digital technologies responsibly, we promptly identify any ethical issues that may arise from algorithm-driven and data-based business models. Since 2021, our Digital Ethics Advisory Panel (DEAP) has been focusing on complex ethical issues surrounding digital technologies and supports that our digital business model follows a holistic, ethical approach.

Roles and responsibilities

The DEAP discusses ethical issues arising from our digital applications and business activities, especially in the healthcare sector. One of its main tasks is to help ensure that we develop digital innovations responsibly while addressing potential digital ethics questions that could result from collecting and processing data as well as from the use of these digital technologies.

The panel, which issues recommendations on our actions as a company, consists of external international science and industry experts from the fields of digital ethics, law, Big Data technologies, digital health, medicine, and data governance. In addition, we involve bioethics experts as well as representatives from patient organizations as needed. The DEAP receives its mandate from the Executive Board and our employees may submit topics for the panel to discuss. Summary minutes of DEAP meetings and the recommendations made will be available on our intranet from 2023 onwards, provided that they do not contain any confidential business information. The panel held four meetings in 2022, focusing on ethical challenges that could result from our business model for bioelectronics.

Our commitment: Guidelines and standards

As a company, we want to position ourselves with respect to digital ethics. We are therefore developing clear ethical standards in this new field, primarily for critical areas, for instance handling health data, doing so in collaboration with various stakeholders and experts.

Together with the DEAP, we apply our Code of Digital Ethics (CoDE), in order to address issues pertaining to the ethical use of data and algorithms. The CoDE serves as a guideline for our digital business models, a tool for analyzing ethical challenges and a basis for practical DEAP recommendations. As one of our overarching governance documents, the CoDE applies to all employees and is publicly accessible. In 2022, we developed an employee training course on the CoDE, which we plan to roll out in 2023.

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