The Complexity of Healthcare Data Sharing
July 5, 2021
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by Arabella Seebaluck

There is something about patient confidentiality which may get lost with the whole new thing about ‘data’. That’s, to say the least, what many people fear. “Among the many reasons why healthcare data isn’t more digitally accessible is a very simple one: fear that it will be misused. Patients are scared their data will be used against them. This could happen in a number of ways, the most obvious being the threat that insurance companies will use health data to deny people coverage or that employers will use the data to exclude people when making hiring decisions. That’s why the rules and regulations surrounding health data privacy are so stringent.”

Global big data analytics in healthcare industry landscape

A study published by Goldstein Market Intelligence revealed that data in the healthcare industry  the valued at USD 16.90 billion in 2017 and is projected to reach USD 68.20 billion by 2025 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 18.6% over the forecast period.

“Based on types of analytics type, the descriptive analytics segment is anticipated to account for the largest share of the big data healthcare analytics market and continue to dominate the big data analytics in the healthcare industry during the forecast period,” an article published in Uteckie reveals.

Europe and the U.S. are set to lead the way in the data-dominated landscape of their medical services, with technological advances in the Internet of Things as well as other parameters facilitate the gathering and manipulation of big data. The increased demand for the analysis of this data for forecasting and other predictive purposes isn’t likely to relent in the light of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Innovation over fear

Basically, the healthcare sector is going to continue to be shaped based on its ability to share date in a secure manner. HIPAA compliance is going to be a cornerstone for telehealth and traditional medical operators, as the trust of their patients will be non-negotiable.

Moreover, preventive care is advanced as a way to enhance the trust factor in this pursuit of increased healthcare data sharing: “If you put the data in the hands of a trusted entity and ensure that each person has access to their full medical history, people are much more likely to grant access at times of need” says Paul Johnson, CEO and co-founder of Redirect Health.

Basically, it’s all about embracing technology in the medical field, which is what a lot of people innovating and trying to find solutions for this industry are doing. Youmedico is one of these apps. It’s a multi-pronged concept brought by Youpal Group, a Swedish start-up. Its owner, co-founder and CEO, Karl Leahlander precisely said:

“This is just about adapting technology. This is why I talked about all the five systems from the beginning because e they are building the foundation of where you are operating from. If you add technology to this system, you can be in a country where you have a completely different political system or cultural norms. It doesn’t matter what kind of healthcare is the central part of, its going to always be the central part.”

Paul Johnson echoes the same thought about telemedicine:

“Telehealth is a perfect example of how the system can meaningfully change. It took a global pandemic to really be able to break through to a point where telehealth was fully embraced (and covered by insurance). Now, health insurers such as Anthem are actively trying to improve care coordination and interoperability.”

Collection of health data on mobile phones

Since most human behaviour nowadays is recorded on cellular technology, how odd would it be to push this tenet a little further and have it expanded to sharing patient history? What’s more, don’t a lot of people already use a lot of apps which count your steps, calculate weight and BMIs or monitor the menstrual cycle

“So why are we not leveraging this function for optimized care — or at the very least trying to get medical insights out of our device use data?” Paul Johnson asks.

Enter blockchain technology

The answer lies in the same issue mentioned at the beginning: trust. With a lot of data breaches and misuse, and what’s more, in massively-used platforms such as Facebook, there needs to be a guarantee seal on whatever providers hope to offer their patients when it comes to healthcare data sharing.

Paul Johnson believes: “It will be tricky to regulate the privacy and protection of healthcare data, but blockchain technology has proven to be an effective measure in maintaining trust between consumers and data stewards.”

Youpal’s Youmedico, for instance, is already thinking ahead in those terms. Karl Leahlander advances: “This is the possibility we provide with our SaaS solution. We can enhance it and make it even better over the course of time. It’s not about taking away from what already exists, but adding to it. To me, it doesn’t really shift it, it only gives a new opportunity and I think this is clear especially now with the pandemic. I think more people are seeing this than they did before.”

Technology is something which humanity has brought onto itself. It’s here to stay and it looks like adaptability and the evolution of human behaviour to integrate technological habits is what is going to make all of the healthcare and other data sharing nightmares go away.

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