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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Embedding Privacy into the Design of EHRs to Enable Multiple Functionalities

I like to follow the Information & Privacy Commissioner for Ontario, because of the insights into leading edge healthcare technology, of course in the context of privacy and security. The topic of this paper, co-written with the Infoway President is quite good. What struck me in the article was the reference to "Big Data". Is this going to become a common way of calling research using regression analysis and evidence-based medicine? "Big Data" goes far beyond just healthcare: http://www.ipc.on.ca/images/Resources/pbd-ehr-e.pdf
"As we move into an era of “Big Data,” PbD offers a holistic, proactive approach to privacy protection that can help to anticipate and address the “big harms” to privacy that are a foreseeable danger of Big Data. At the same time, PbD recognizes and aims to facilitate the benefits of harnessing Big Data for socially useful applications. In the context of designing and implementing EHR systems, PbD seeks to protect the privacy of individuals whose personal health information is contained in EHRs while enabling multiple goals – privacy and security, individual and societal benefits, confidentiality and data quality. In this way, PbD facilitates access to health information for secondary purposes while at the same time protecting the privacy and confidentiality of health information held in the EHR. This is accomplished by embedding privacy and security directly into EHR systems, through the routine de-identification of personal health information for secondary purposes, end-to-end security, and other mechanisms discussed elsewhere in this paper. PbD offers a means of elevating privacy in the Big Data world to an effective countervailing force that we are calling “Big Privacy” – a method of ensuring that privacy is embedded as a first consideration in all Big Data transactions. Consistent with PbD, the Pan-Canadian Health Information Privacy Group proactively considered the privacy implications of secondary use in its paper outlining general principles for information governance in the EHR environment."
http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/Home-Page/