As a librarian, I tend to see most problems as “information problems,” including—or maybe especially—health care. I appreciate how “Dr. Google” (when it’s not stoking my hypochondria) can advise me on the treatment of minor ailments. I am annoyed and comforted by the extra level of protections I see around my own medical data.
My tech news feeds were full of stories that have me pondering the balance: how do we have the necessary protections and privacy to prevent abuse and exploitation, while still allowing the data to flow freely for the best and most timely medical care? Do we trust Apple to be the courier of our medical records, but not Google?
- Study: Ransomware, Data Breaches at Hospitals tied to Uptick in Fatal Heart Attacks [Krebs on Security] “The researchers found that for care centers that experienced a breach, it took an additional 2.7 minutes for suspected heart attack patients to receive an electrocardiogram.”
- Apple opens up its health records service to veterans with iPhones [CNBC] “The move enables veterans to see their medical information in one place and share it with their doctors, even if they seek care from multiple providers.”
- Google Secretly Tests Medical Records Search Tool On Nation’s Largest Nonprofit Health System, Documents Show [Forbes] “The project involves moving patient records onto Google’s cloud servers and includes a search product that allows Ascension healthcare providers to see an ‘overview page’ about their patients. The page includes complete patient information as well as notes about patient medical issues, test results and medications, including information from scanned documents.”
- Our partnership with Ascension [Google Cloud Blog] “To be clear: under this arrangement, Ascension’s data cannot be used for any other purpose than for providing these services we’re offering under the agreement, and patient data cannot and will not be combined with any Google consumer data.”
From the Ohio Web Library:
- Pratt, Mary K. “Could Big Tech Succeed in Revolutionizing Health IT? Apple, Google, Others Are Making Presence; Regulatory Hurdles Could Stunt Innovation.” Ophthalmology Times, vol. 43, no. 6, Apr. 2018, pp. 62–65.
- Levy, Steven. “Web Surfer, Heal Thyself.” Newsweek, vol. 151, no. 9, Mar. 2008, p. 16.
- “Hospitals Become Major Target for Ransomware.” Network Security, vol. 2016, no. 4, Apr. 2016, pp. 1–2.