Home innovation technology concept illustration.

Call for Abstracts — 2022 Petrie-Flom Center Annual Conference: Diagnosing in the Home

Contribute to the 2022 Petrie-Flom Center Annual Conference and subsequent book project!

Through October 14, 2021, the Petrie-Flom Center is accepting abstracts for its annual conference. The 2022 annual conference will focus on ethical, legal, and regulatory challenges and opportunities around at home digital health technology.

This conference will engage with the vision for a 21st century health care system that embraces the potential of at home digital products to support diagnoses, improve care, encourage caregivers, maximize pandemic resilience, and allow individuals to stay within the home when preferable. The goals of this conference and subsequent book project are to consider the ethical, sociological, regulatory, and legal challenges and opportunities presented by the implementation of digital products that support clinical diagnosis and/or treatment in patients’ homes over the next decade.

Interested in submitting an abstract, but want to know more about what we’re looking for? Read through the following frequently asked questions.

What topics are you looking for?

We welcome submissions on both broad conceptual questions and more specific policy issues related to the implementation of at-home digital technologies, preferably related to diagnostics. Areas of interest include but are not limited to: Access and equity concerns; social interconnectedness challenges; patient privacy regulatory questions; and the role of regulatory agencies.

What elements must my abstract include?

Proposals should demonstrate a clear linkage to all three aspects of the conference:

  1. Diagnostics; Preference will be given to contributions that focus on diagnostics, rather than therapeutics, although interesting proposals that focus on the therapeutic side will be considered.
  2. At-home digital health care; The technologies discussed in each contribution must be primarily implemented at the home, rather than the hospital or clinic. There should also be a digital component to the technology analyzed.
  3. And ethical, sociological, or regulatory innovation. Contributions should avoid a purely technical focus but instead look more broadly to the ethical, sociological, legal, or regulatory questions raised by the implementation of these technologies. For example, we welcome explorations of the regulation of the data generated by these technologies, or the sociological impact of having so much at-home data generated and shared among care teams.

What else are you looking for?

Ideally, your abstract will be forward-looking. Because the work presented at the conference will eventually be published in an edited volume, we want topics that will still be of interest to readers in five to ten years. One way to accomplish this may be to include your perspective on how the issue can/should evolve over the next decade.  

Your abstract should also be contextualized: please frame the issue within its broader context to convey its relevance and potential implications.

Preference will be given to collaborative efforts that draw on the insights and experience of multiple institutions and/or disciplines. We are less interested in single-site or -institution case studies, unless there are broader policy or regulatory conclusions that are relevant beyond that experience.

What topics are beyond the scope of this conference?

Contributions that focus on wellness products unrelated to the diagnosis or treatment of health conditions will be outside the scope of this conference. Purely technical submissions will likely be outside the scope of this conference.

How should I structure my abstract?

The abstract should include (but not be limited to) a page summarizing the issue that will be addressed, and challenges to its resolution. Successful abstracts will propose or outline an argument/position, rather than merely stating a topic.

I’m in academia but not a legal scholar. Will my work be considered?

Yes! We welcome empirical work with clear regulatory, legal, or ethical implications. For an example of what we mean by that, please consult “Dissecting racial bias in an algorithm used to manage the health of populations,” by Obermayer et al. This paper analyzes the data produced by a health decision-making algorithm for evidence of differential treatment for Black patients compared to equally sick white peers. This empirical analysis has clear regulatory and ethical implications with respect to bias, equity, and patient care.

I’m not in academia. Can I submit?

In an effort to encourage interdisciplinary and international dialogue, we welcome submissions from legal scholars and lawyers, bioethicists, philosophers, clinicians, medical researchers, disability rights advocates, public health practitioners, economists, government officials and staff, and others who have a meaningful contribution to make on this topic. All abstracts will be held to academic standards of argumentation and support.

I’m an undergraduate. Can I submit?

Undergraduates are welcome to attend the conference, but currently-enrolled undergraduates are not eligible to submit abstracts. Graduate students, especially those with more established co-authors, may be considered.

My abstract isn’t U.S. focused. Will this hurt my chances?

Not necessarily. Preference will be given to contributions that are general, or United States- or European Union-focused. But we welcome philosophical and legal reflections from contributors across the world. Abstracts with an international focus should include a comparative approach that relates back to the United States or European Union.

How do I submit an abstract?

If you are interested in participating, please send a 1-page abstract of the paper you would plan to present to petrie-flom@law.harvard.edu as soon as possible, but not later than October 14, 2021.

Please contact the Petrie-Flom Center with further questions: petrie-flom@law.harvard.edu.

The Petrie-Flom Center Staff

The Petrie-Flom Center staff often posts updates, announcements, and guests posts on behalf of others.

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