With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: The Making of Mayo Clinic Platform’s Digital Hippocratic Oath

In today’s rapidly advancing digital world, where technology is constantly evolving and plays a significant role in our lives, it is crucial to consider the ethical implications of its use. From artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to big data and social media, technology is shaping our societies, economies, and cultures in profound ways. We see technology’s growing influence around us and strongly believe that it’s our responsibility to ensure it is used for the greater good and that its potential harms are mitigated. This is where the concept of a "Digital Hippocratic Oath" comes into play.

Our Mayo Clinic Platform Digital Hippocratic Oath is inspired by the Hippocratic Oath, a historic, ethical code that outlines the moral and professional duties of physicians. Originating from the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, the Hippocratic Oath has undergone modifications over time to reflect changing societal values and medical practices. The oath stresses the importance of respecting patient confidentiality, avoiding harm, and maintaining professionalism. Today, many medical schools and health care organizations require physicians to take a form of the Hippocratic Oath as a symbol of their dedication to ethical behavior and patient-centered care.

The idea of a similar oath for technology professionals emerged as a response to the ethical challenges posed by technology in health care. The purpose of the Digital Hippocratic Oath is to establish a set of ethical principles that professionals should follow in their work to ensure that technology is used responsibly and ethically.

The ethical principles that guide this framework include beneficence, non-maleficence, privacy and security, fairness and equity, accountability, and continuous learning.

Our Oath, Our Commitment

Incorporating an oath into Mayo Clinic Platform demonstrates our commitment and the high standards we set for our health care ecosystem to ensure ethical conduct and uphold the highest standards of patient care.

As an enabling platform, Mayo Clinic Platform aims to improve patient outcomes through innovation and collaboration, and our Oath helps ensure that these advancements are made in a responsible and ethical manner. It sets a high standard for health care providers and technology experts and shows Mayo Clinic's commitment to delivering the best possible care for patients.

Mayo Clinic Platform formed a team that included members from Solutions, Products, Operations, Services, and Provider Market to develop a Digital Hippocratic Oath that reflects Mayo Clinic’s values and mission while serving as a guiding framework. The creation of the Digital Hippocratic Oath illustrates the continued relevance and significance of this historic code in modern health care.

Developing the Oath

The development of the Mayo Clinic Platform Digital Hippocratic Oath is an important step towards upholding Mayo Clinic’s RICH TIES of Respect, Integrity, Compassion, Healing, Teamwork, Innovation, Excellence, and Stewardship and ensuring the highest standards of patient care.

Under the Oath, all members of the Mayo Clinic Platform team will be held accountable to prioritize patient and partner data privacy and security. Our patients’ and partners’ well-being and privacy come first, and Mayo Clinic Platform will uphold this principle in all aspects of our work.  We are committed to positively transforming health care, and in doing so, we will serve as a responsible steward for future generations.

The Mayo Clinic Platform Digital Hippocratic Oath

As a Mayo Clinic Platform stakeholder, I pledge to maintain the highest standards of professionalism and uphold the principles of autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence, and justice in my health care work. I acknowledge the paramount importance of patient data privacy, confidentiality, and security in our work to enable solutions and technologies that improve patients' lives and alleviate clinician burden. I promise to comply with all ethical and legal standards, including HIPAA. I recognize the needs of the patient as our guiding light and will apply all necessary measures to create a healthier world of personalized, predictive, and innovative care that is accessible to all.

Mayo Clinic Platform is committed to safeguarding the integrity and privacy of data. Mayo Clinic Platform provides data stewardship for patients and our partners, respecting data ownership and intellectual property. I vow to actively mitigate bias and to strive toward creating an equitable health care ecosystem that prioritizes patient well-being and the privacy of data.

While I recognize the potential benefits of technology and data, I am also mindful of the potential risks. Therefore, I will strive to reduce these risks by engaging in continuous learning and collaborations that align with Mayo Clinic Platform values. 

I acknowledge that my work has a significant impact on patients' lives, and I commit to these principles and our collective shared values: Respect, Integrity, Compassion, Healing, Teamwork, Innovation, Excellence, and Stewardship. I take full responsibility for my actions and will strive to consistently act in accordance with these values. By doing so, I hope to contribute to the positive transformation of the health care industry and find fulfillment in serving as a responsible steward for future generations.

Mayo Clinic Platform Digital Hippocratic Oath Authors

Kari Turkowski

Soulmaz Boroumand

Randy Schwarz

Hailey Hildahl

Joe Hindermann

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