Data Ethics: The Grey World Of Your Healthcare Data & Privacy

Asha Saxena takes a deep look at what data privacy and ethics means in the world of healthcare with Darrell Walter of Penn State Health.

Data privacy and ethics in healthcare is a big deal, because it affects all of us on at least some level. From health insurance premiums, healthcare access, employment, and even on a personal level of not wanting all our personal health information being made available to anyone who wants it.

So why is this worth a discussion? We have data protection laws, right? Well, this is where we step into a gray world. Big data in healthcare raises ethical issues because the data is used without a patient’s consent.

Medical records are governed by rules to protect privacy so most health data can be stripped of identifying information like your age or your lifestyle habits. However, it could cross into an ethical gray area if patient privacy is compromised.

Meanwhile, the federal government has opened an immense store of healthcare knowledge including data from clinical trials and information on patients covered under public insurance programs.

And finally, patients are generating and sharing their own data through smartphone apps and online patient communities and many of these programs and communities lack strong data protection.

It’s a little scary, but there are also some huge benefits that come along with the use of this data. Darrell Walters helps us explore these benefits from identifying rare cancers to truly personalized healthcare. Let’s get started with this episode of Dive With Data!


What you will learn about in this episode:

  • What are the risks and opportunities that sharing our healthcare data affords us?
  • How big data has helped Penn State Health reduce sepsis mortality by 25 percent.
  • The ethical questions of healthcare data and clinics advertising to patients based on that data.
  • Should healthcare data gathering include our social posting to understand our lifestyle habits better?
  • The difference between being application centric vs data centric as an organization.
  • What is data governance and why does it matter?
  • Why implementing common data models is important for more than just one organization.
  • What drives the location and types of services health networks provide in an area.

Ways to contact Asha Saxena: