A recent report from the Center for Democracy and Technology examines decentralizing analysis of health data to better protect privacy.
“As the digitization of health records makes it easier and more cost effective to share and analyze health data, policymakers and businesses are increasingly looking to use health data for secondary purposes--uses beyond that for which the health data were originally collected,” according to the report.
Claims data, for instance, can be analyzed for secondary uses such as research and public health surveillance. However, much of data analysis is done via centralized databases with data housed and managed in one system. The report advocates adoption of decentralized models, and explains these models under which data typically is analyzed but remains at its original source.
“It should be noted that CDT is not urging federal or state agencies to immediately replace their existing centralized databases with distributed systems,” the report states. “Any decentralized system for population-scale data analysis faces technical challenges that must be overcome prior to deployment. CDT therefore recommends that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services collaborate with health plans and providers, researchers, state agencies and technology vendors to initiate projects to evaluate the effectiveness of distributed models.”
The report is available here.
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