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Rheumatology in 2049: the age of all data
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  • Published on:
    Digitalisation in Rheumatology - the devils advocacy and angel fear.
    • Oliver Hendricks, MD, PHD, Professor in Rheumatology Danish Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases ; University of Southern Denmark. Engelshøjgade 2a, 6400 Sønderborg, Denmark.

    Dear editor, I read with interest the narrative article published by Mucke et al. entitled Rheumatology in 2049: the age of all data, in which the authors bring to the agenda the highly relevant topic of digitalization and invite to reflect on the process of digitalization in the field of Rheumatology.
    I agree with the authors of this article, insofar as digitization is a force with disruptive potential, and we are definitely witnessing changes at enormous speed. Thus, it is reasonable to think about what our work might be like in thirty years from now. On the other hand, the authors’ positive approach demands the devil’s advocacy; coming along in terms of historical, communicational and philosophical reflections, reaching beyond the illusion of a perfect world, build on big data.
    Firstly, the impact of digitalization on clinical activity is not only characterized by expanding relevant clinical data, but also expanding and competing IT solutions, overimplemetation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and further disproportionate bureaucratic demands, in toto leading to the danger of a technocratic overload error rather than optimized use of clinical relevant information (1, 2).
    Secondly, the operation of any computer system solely relies on the binary number system and digitalization’s ultimate backbone is the functioning algorithm. Uncontrolled, biased algorithms may result in a disparate impact on certain groups of patients and/ or the detec...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.