Blinding as a Solution to Bias

Blinding Bias

We’re pleased to announce that a new book by Petrie-Flom Center affiliates Christopher Robertson and Aaron Kesselheim will be available this week.  The edited volume — Blinding as a Solution to Bias: Strengthening Biomedical Science, Forensic Science, and Law — grew from a 2013 conference at Harvard co-sponsored by the Petrie-Flom Center.  From the fascinating history of blinding (starting in Ben Franklin’s living room to test the healing powers of Mesmerism) to the sham surgeries being used today, and the future novel uses of blinding in the courts, the book moves the debate forward.  What are the advantages and limitations of blinding compared to other solutions for biases? How can we quantify the biases in unblinded research? Can we develop new ways to blind decision-makers?  What are the ethical problems with withholding information?  Fundamentally, questions about who needs to know what open new doors of inquiry for the design of scientific research studies, regulatory institutions, and courts.  With a foreword by Larry Lessig, the book surveys the theory, practice, and future of blinding, drawing upon leading authors with a diverse range of methodologies and areas of expertise, including medicine, law, forensic sciences, philosophy, economics, psychology, sociology, and statistics.  It is available for pre-order from the publisher and Amazon.com.

Liability for Mobile Health and Wearable Technologies

Lindsay Wiley and I just posted Liability for Mobile Health and Wearable Technologies that is forthcoming in Annals of Health Law. As we argue–Most of the legal commentary regarding mobile health has focused on direct regulation leveraging existing laws and regulators such as HIPAA privacy through HHS-OCR or device regulation by the FDA. However, much of the mobile health revolution likely will play out in lightly regulated spaces bereft of most of the privacy, security, and safety rules associated with traditional health care. This article examines the potential for common law liability models to bridge these gaps (even on a temporary basis).
Download the paper on SSRN here.