Trading in Medical Data: Is this a Headache Or An Opportunity for Pathologists and Clinical Laboratories

Legislation has been introduced that, if passed, would ensure health consumers have the opportunity to see and correct information held by data brokers

When it comes to patient privacy, pathologists and clinical laboratory managers may be spending more time addressing a growing issue with the patient data their labs create and store. Third-party data brokers want to position themselves to collect healthcare data at the source so can they de-identify it and sell it to interested parties.

Data brokers are commercial entities that collect, assemble, and/or maintain personal information about individuals. They also sell or provide third-party access to the information, explained the Congressional Research Service, a Legislative Branch Agency that provides policy and legal analysis to both House and Senate members and committees of the U.S. Congress, regardless of party affiliation.

Pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, and other businesses can purchase said data from various types of data brokers, such as information, analysis, and technology companies. The purchased data then can go on to guide industry investments or launch drug marketing campaigns. (more…)

To Find Patients at Highest Risk, Hospitals Combine Consumer Data with Clinical Information—Including Clinical Laboratory Results

Health systems using big data in this manner include Carolinas Healthcare System and UPMC Health

Big data is all the rage in healthcare these days. However, one interesting development in this field is how hospitals are integrating consumer data with clinical data to identify patients at high risk. For example, if the post-surgical heart patient buys a package of cigarettes, some hospitals say they want to know.

This is a trend with interesting implications for clinical laboratories. For example, will hospitals using big data in this fashion want to include medical laboratory test results in the mix of information they collect and analyze on their patients? If so, are there ethical issues associated with using such lab test data in this manner? (more…)

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