Own your own medical data!

I just came off an IDC Health Insights trends webinar (see the immediately preceding post). Amid the trends-continue-as-before material was one point that was notable for something that wasn’t said – because it’s a social trend not a technology one.

IDC identified a data explosion arising, in part, from personal health monitoring. That’s, perhaps, individuals with conditions like diabetes taking their own glucose readings. It can also be the worried well measuring themselves.

If you upload the data to your personal health record, who owns it? There was a throw-away by the IDC analyst to the effect that the data can be viewed by your physician “if you give them access”.

Here’s the trend: as personal health management expands, individuals really will own and control their own health data. They will create it, share it and manage it. At present, such data are owned, for all practical purposes, by the physician or health provider; hence rules under the European data protection codes are needed to enforce the data subject’s right of access. When it really is your own data, the boot may be on the other foot.

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