Your Health Data Is Not Secure: What Can We Do About It? (Forbes)

FORBES | When it comes to protecting health data privacy, where do we find balance?

Health and health-related data are fundamental to informing medical innovations and advances that save lives and better outcomes for all patients. These data include a wide range of metrics such as prescriptions, lab results, race/ethnicity, gender, and income and, more recently, they’ve come to include data collected on our fitness devices and social media posts.

But, the misuse – whether unintentionally or otherwise – of personal heath data and information can lead to feelings of discrimination, an encroachment on privacy, and even a loss of trust in our health care system.

Back in 2002, on the Senate floor, I stated: “Scientific advances hold the promise of higher quality medical care, yet there is a pressing need for federal legislation to reassure the public that learning this information will not result in a loss of health insurance coverage or in the loss of a job.”

Yes, medical advances demand robust, comprehensive data and information that allow clinicians and researchers to more effectively and efficiently diagnose and treat illness and disease. But we – as a society and as individuals – demand privacy protections and regulations to protect our autonomy. The former cannot and should not exist without the latter.

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