Digitizing patients’ medical histories, laboratory results and diagnoses has created a booming market in which tech giants are looking to store and crunch data, with potential for groundbreaking discoveries and lucrative products. But recent revelations that Alphabet Inc.’s Google is able to tap personally identifiable medical data about patients, reported by The Wall Street Journal, has raised concerns among lawmakers, patients and doctors about privacy.
Hospitals have granted Microsoft Corp., International Business Machines and Amazon the ability to access identifiable patient information under deals to crunch millions of health records, the latest examples of hospitals’ growing influence in the data economy.
We all have either heard the stories or experienced it ourselves. Someone stays overnight in a hospital and when they review thier bill on checkout, they see things like a $45 charge for two Tylenol. Funny thing is, when my oldest brother was born back in the 1950’s, my mom’s entire bill for the labor, delivery and a two-day stay was only $50, for all of it. Somewhere between then and now hospitals and hospital care have become a huge racket, and now, hospitals want even more.
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” 3 John 1:2 (KJB)
We live not only in the the age of technology, we also live in the age of data which is functionally the world’s largest currency. He who controls the data in the 21st century controls everything, and hospitals have woken up to the fact that there is no better, no more sensitive and no more valuable data that your medical records, and have decided to pimp that data out to the highest bidder. In this case, it’s the all-consuming tech giants that have become the new robber barons.
As technology advances, our humanity it would seem is regressing, with people being reduced to points of data for the sole purpose of being financially weaponized for profit. That really doesn’t seem like progress to me, do it to you? Ever see the movie Soylent Green? You should.
Hospitals Give Tech Giants Access to Detailed Medical Records
FROM THE WSJ: The breadth of access wasn’t always spelled out by hospitals and tech giants when the deals were struck. The scope of data sharing in these and other recently reported agreements reveals a powerful new role that hospitals play—as brokers to technology companies racing into the $3 trillion health-care sector. Rapid digitization of health records and privacy laws enabling companies to swap patient data have positioned hospitals as a primary arbiter of how such sensitive data is shared.
“HOSPITALS ARE MASSIVE CONTAINERS OF PATIENT DATA,” SAID LISA BARI, A CONSULTANT AND FORMER LEAD FOR HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FOR THE CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES INNOVATION CENTER.
Hospitals can share patient data as long as they follow federal privacy laws, which contain limited consumer protections, she said. “The data belongs to whoever has it.”
Microsoft and Providence, a hospital system with data for about 20 million patient visits a year, are developing cancer algorithms by using doctor’s notes in patient medical records. The notes haven’t been stripped of personally identifiable information, according to Providence, which is based in Renton, Wash.
An agreement between IBM and Brigham and Women’s Hospital to jointly develop artificial intelligence allows the Boston-based hospital to share personally identifiable data for specific requests, people involved in the agreement said. So far the hospital hasn’t shared data on that basis and has no current plans to do so, according to hospital and IBM officials.
Microsoft executive Peter Lee in July described how his company would use Providence patient data without identifying information for algorithm development. In a December statement, he said patients’ personal health data remains in Providence’s control and declined to comment further. B.J. Moore, Providence’s chief information officer, said executives involved in the agreement at first planned to use data without information identifying patients; later they found they couldn’t remove it all from doctors’ notes. “It was not intended to mislead,” he said.
DIGITIZING PATIENTS’ MEDICAL HISTORIES, LABORATORY RESULTS AND DIAGNOSES HAS CREATED A BOOMING MARKET IN WHICH TECH GIANTS ARE LOOKING TO STORE AND CRUNCH DATA, WITH POTENTIAL FOR GROUNDBREAKING DISCOVERIES AND LUCRATIVE PRODUCTS.
There is no indication of wrongdoing in the deals. Officials at the companies and hospitals say they have safeguards to protect patients. Hospitals control data, with privacy training and close tracking of tech employees with access, they said. Health data can’t be combined independently with other data by tech companies.
But recent revelations that Alphabet Inc.’s Google is able to tap personally identifiable medical data about patients, reported by The Wall Street Journal, has raised concerns among lawmakers, patients and doctors about privacy. READ MORE
Google accesses patient data via deal with US hospital system
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