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.

Webinar This Week

Optimizing Healthcare Operational Excellence to Drive Care Transformation

Join us in this webinar to learn how organizations have leveraged modern technology to enable transformative innovation and continuous improvement across their operations resulting in overall cost savings, process optimization, and clinical improvements.

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

The Trump administration released its regulatory agenda that includes estimates on when major rules on drug prices and interoperability will be out

David Feinberg, M.D., head of Google Health, posted a blog post and video Tuesday to directly address growing concerns about the Ascension data deal.

Clinicians are the primary end users of digital health, and a clinical champion can make all the difference in whether a solution is adopted.