Contact Group Leader Eva Winkler



EURAT: Ethical and Legal Aspects of Whole Genome Sequencing

The interdisciplinary EURAT project group is sponsored by the Marsilius Kolleg (Initiative of Excellence) of Heidelberg University. It is engaged in normative issues that arise in Whole Genome Sequencing in the fields of research and patient care and has published on this subject among other things the EURAT Position Paper “Eckpunkte für eine Heidelberger Praxis der Ganzgenomsequenzierung“ [Cornerstones for the Heidelberg practice of whole-genome sequencing] (Download as PDF-File).

DASYMED: Big Data in Systems Medicine – Normative and Social Issues for Physicians, Scientists, Patients and Society

DASYMED is a research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung). It is carried out in collaboration with the The Institute for German, European and International Medical Law, Public Health Law and Bioethics (IMGB) (Mannheim) and is divided into an ethical, a socio-empirical and a legal subproject. The research covers normative implications and issues arising due to new practices in systems medicine in the field of biomedical research and patient care.

EPAL: Ethics policy for advanced care planning and limiting treatment

(Leitliniengestützte Interventionsstudie zur Verbesserung von Entscheidungen zur Therapiebegrenzung)

Leitlinie zur Therapiebegrenzung der Medizinischen Klinik und Poliklinik III des Klinikums der Universität München (Download as PDF-File)»

End-of-life decision-making in cancer patients is often surrounded by clinical, ethical and psychological conflicts and can therefore be a challenging process for patients, relatives and the medical team. The aim of the EPAL study (Ethics policy for advanced care planning and limiting treatment) is the development and implementation of a clinical practice guideline about limiting life-prolonging treatment as well as the evaluation of its impact on medical practice in the Dept of Internal Medicine, which runs a comprehensive cancer center at the Munich University Hospital, with respect to the following criteria:

  •     knowledge and consideration of the patient's wishes,
  •     reduction of conflicts in decision-making,
  •     better transparency through standardized documentation and
  •     reduction of the burden on the health care team.

In order to identify changes in these variables we use a pre-post study design before and after implementation of the policy. The epistemological aim is to contribute to the discussion of methods and to the evaluation of ethical guidelines. Although guidelines are common in medical practice, the influence of ethics policies on clinical decision-making is so far unclear.

The study is funded by Deutsche Krebshilfe e.V.

INFOPAT: Medical ethics implications regarding the doctor-patient relationship under the influence of a personal electronic patient record

In May 2015 the German cabinet approved a legislative bill concerning secure digital communication and applications in health care, the so called ‘e-health act’. By means of this act a basis for health IT-applications – like for instance electronic health records – should be established. The INFOPAT project aims at linking all relevant player in the healthcare system via a personal electronic patient record (PEPA). The project „Gesundheitsregion der Zukunft“ (INFOPAT Rhein Neckar) is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and an alliance of 27 partners under the lead of the Dept of Health Service Research, University of Heidelberg. An essential idea of this project is that every patient is made administrator of a data-cloud, containing all his medical data. This shall not only improve consistency of care, but also realize the right to informational self-determination. However, these new options to put the patient at the center of information management in a comprehensive and self-determining way provide essential new ethical challenges to the relationship between physicians and patients. Our project focuses on the empirical needs analysis, development and ethical evaluation of the implementation of the PEPA prototype.