Why healthcare data privacy is an 'illusion,' according to Yale professor

Because so much patient information is digital nowadays, healthcare data privacy is just an "illusion" in the U.S., a Yale School of Medicine professor wrote June 1 in BMJ.

Harlan Krumholz, MD, professor of medicine at the New Haven, Conn.-based university, said healthcare data is now shared "among healthcare providers to whom you may not have originally disclosed the information, and private companies that work with health systems, or others to whom data are sold."

"Although no one would relish a return to paper records, that cumbersome system at least made it difficult for patients' data to be made into a commodity," he wrote. "The digital transformation of healthcare data has enabled wonderous breakthroughs — but at the cost of our privacy."

He recommended using tech that protects private healthcare conversations, seeking explicit permission for data-sharing, and educating patients about the risk of disclosing sensitive information.

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