Eric Topol: Deaggregate data to liberate and protect it

cybersecurity (Pixabay)
Decentralizing data can help guard against cyberattacks and hackers.

The great irony of healthcare data is that many patients still can’t easily access it—but hackers and cybercriminals can.

“Personal medical data is ... an exceptionally easy target for criminals,” wrote Eric J. Topol, a professor at the Scripps Research Institute, and Kathryn Haun, a federal prosecutor who teaches a course on cybercrime at Stanford Law School, in a New York Times opinion piece.  

The solution, they said, is disaggregated data stored in individual or family units rather than in centralized databases. “Such a regime would return the data to the person who should own it in the first place: the patient,” Topol and Haun wrote.

Product Spotlight

Top-Rated Mobile App for Health Insurance Members

Zipari’s Mobile App is the smarter, easier, and better way for payers to engage members on the go and directly in the palm of their hands. Members can find the right doctors, receive notifications, send messages, view claims, track spending, talk to a nurse, download ID card, and more. It’s ready to install and launch in a few months.

RELATED: Open-source competitors must 'break open' patient health data

But, they warned, the industry (and consumers) can’t count on vendors to help achieve that goal.

"We cannot leave it to the health record software companies—the Cerners, Epics and Allscripts of the world—to bring about the needed changes. Their business is to sell proprietary information software to health systems to create large centralized databases for such things as insurance reimbursements and patient care. Their success has relied on an old, paternalistic model in medicine in which the data is generated and owned by doctors and hospitals," they wrote.

Suggested Articles

Blue Shield of California is teaming up with Cricket Health to offer coordinated care to members with late-stage and end-stage renal disease.

Here's why analysts and industry leaders think the Teladoc-Livongo deal could significantly change the virtual care market and healthcare delivery.

Two doctors would like to see a practice and policy "reset" post-COVID to help permanently reduce administrative headaches for physicians.