Balancing Privacy and Access to Health Information

Applied Clinical Trials has just published Privacy Analytics’ Sam Wehbe’s article entitled, Balancing Privacy and Access to Health Information in the Age of Big Data.

Privacy is of paramount concern to patients, as it should be to the healthcare organizations in charge of holding it. Organizations in possession of protected health information (PHI) have a legal obligation to protect identities. Failure to do so can result in penalties, legal action, and damage to their reputation. However, we often see questionable methods in place when it comes to sharing this data for secondary use. In Sam Wehbe’s article, he looks at Safe Harbor critically as a method of de-identification. Safe Harbor is a rules-based approach that may be easy to implement but limits how the data can be used. It also doesn’t provide the best privacy protection.

He opens the door to the other HIPAA privacy rule standard, Expert Determination, as a superior choice for organizations looking to share high-quality data and mitigate the risk of re-identification. This method is so superior that organizations like HITRUST have built de-identification frameworks advocating for it.

Make sure to read Balancing Privacy and Access to Health Information in the Age of Big Data today.


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