Data collection in the healthcare industry – good, bad, maybe a little of both? For the month of February, we’ll be covering the topic of healthcare data, the pros and cons of its collection, and what steps you can take to protect your privacy in this area.
The tension between Big Data and privacy rights has been ongoing for some time now. However, the collection of healthcare data hasn’t been a prominent category in these conversations until recently. The new interest in this topic is largely due to recent news cycles about Google’s Project Nightingale and their acquisition of Fitbit. After this, people were more aware and more concerned about how this data is collected and used.
In regard to regulations, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is the main legislation responsible for protecting medical information. “The HIPAA Privacy regulations require health care providers and organizations, as well as their business associates, to develop and follow procedures that ensure the confidentiality and security of protected health information (PHI) when it is transferred, received, handled, or shared.” (DHCS)
How It’s Used
Healthcare data covers a wide range of information from health records to pharmaceutical consumption to insurance claims. As in most other industries, there are both benefits and dangers to this type of data collection. Below, we’ve highlighted a few of the main points for each side:
- Valuable research and insights
- Personalization and the ability to relate symptoms
- Predictive capabilities and epidemic prevention
- Developing AI
- Cost reduction
- Data breaches and security vulnerability
- Privacy concerns between healthcare companies and other third parties
- Becoming too personal
- Increased health insurance rates and employment risks
In the weeks to come, we’ll take a closer look at both sides of this healthcare coin. Whether you choose to support or oppose the collection of healthcare data, our goal is to show why it matters and the influence it has in today’s society.