Should our medical data be shared widely with doctors, patients and medical researchers if it benefits ourselves and others? The third episode of our Healthy Thinking podcast series explores the important ethical questions surrounding big data in healthcare.
Our ability to collect and analyse large amounts of data is only getting more powerful and could have major benefits for improving our healthcare. However, there are ethical implications around storing and using this valuable asset. Whilst we could use this data to advance the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease, we also need to consider the safety and sensitivity of sharing anyone’s health-related data.
In this episode Bleddyn Rees discusses the opportunities and challenges of sharing health data with our Chairman, Chris Martin. Bleddyn is a co-founder of the European Connected Healthcare Alliance as well as being a commercial corporate lawyer.
Your public health data is not just from information from your GP and hospital records. It could also be taken from pharmacies, opticians, and even from your smartwatch. The podcast highlights how this information could be used to create safer and more effective treatments for patients, but that openness and transparency is key for reassuring the general population about data sharing.
Another key theme from the podcast is the power of new technologies such as the cloud, with Bleddyn stating:
“What we’re really talking about is sharing the results of that analytics, which is really the important aspect to drive innovation, new services, new devices and new drugs. So, the agenda may change from using the word data sharing to analytic sharing.”