The benefits of sharing personal health data far outweigh the security risks of doing so, according to Partners HealthCare’s Joseph Kvedar, MD, in a recent post on The cHealth Blog. With the proliferation of data breaches, many consumers are distrustful of healthcare providers’ cybersecurity practices.
However, Kvedar argues that the improved outcomes that data sharing drives for both consumers and the industry as a whole are worth the risk:
… the same information that can be used to create highly personalized programs to help people stay healthier and happier can also be a key factor in improving efficiencies and reducing healthcare costs. Further, it’s been shown that sharing data with providers, friends or social media groups can actually help people stay on track with their health and wellness goals.
Providers need to make sure that consumers are comfortable sharing their data, though, and a little extra effort can go a long way in improving trust. Kvedar writes:
We can combat much of consumers’ fear by making privacy policies transparent; putting a halt to spying on people without their consent and creating systems to keep data confidential. Bottom line, the rights of individuals must be protected, and organizations — healthcare providers included — need to do a better job explaining privacy issues and safeguards.