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Tuesday, 28th April 2015

Health Big Data in the Commercial Context

Source: Center for Democracy and Technology

From Press Release:

Consumers are increasingly using mobile phone apps and wearable devices to generate and share data on health and wellness. They are using personal health record tools to access and copy health records and move them to third party platforms. They are sharing health information on social networking sites. They leave digital health footprints when they conduct online searches for health information. The health data created, accessed, and shared by consumers using these and many other tools can range from detailed clinical information, such as downloads from an implantable device and details about medication regimens, to data about weight, caloric intake, and exercise logged with a smart phone app.

These developments offer a wealth of opportunities for health care and personal wellness. However, privacy questions arise due to the volume and sensitivity of health data generated by consumer-focused apps, devices, and platforms, including the potential analytics uses that can be made of such data.

Many of the privacy issues that face traditional health care entities in the big data era also apply to app developers, wearable device manufacturers, and other entities not part of the traditional health care ecosystem. These include questions of data minimization, retention, and secondary use. Notice and consent pose challenges, especially given the limits of presenting notices on mobile device screens, and the fact that consumer devices may be bought and used without consultation with a health care professional. Security is a critical issue as well.

+ Direct link to document (PDF; 207 KB)

+ Press Release



Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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