Healthcare organizations are under increasing pressure to share patient data to improve care. Although the benefits of data sharing are clear, healthcare providers must take care to protect patient privacy and follow principles that ensure data is used appropriately. In this article, we will discuss the key principles that healthcare organizations should follow when sharing patient data.
Never Share Data for Financial Compensation
One of the most important principles to follow when sharing patient data is to never do so for financial compensation. Accepting money in exchange for patient data is a violation of patient trust and can lead to patients being exploited. Although it’s still somehow legal for giant pharmaceutical companies to harvest and sell information of individual patients, it remains a breach of trust.
Only Share Data with Permission
Another key principle is to only share patient data with permission. Patients should be made aware of how their data will be used and they should give their explicit permission before it is shared.
Share the Least Amount Possible
When sharing patient data between healthcare organizations, the minimum amount of data possible should be shared. For example, using de-identified data during research is often preferable to using identifiable data. By sharing the least amount of patient data possible, we can minimize the risk of privacy breaches and misuse, and maintain patient anonymity.
Data Ownership Cannot Be Transferred
When patient data is shared between healthcare organizations, the ownership of that data cannot be transferred. The organization that collected the data remains the owner of the data, even if it is stored or used by another organization. This principle is important to protect patient privacy and ensure that data is not misused.
These are just a few of the key principles that healthcare organizations should follow when sharing patient data. Although the benefits of data sharing are clear, it’s important to take steps to protect patients and ensure that their data is used appropriately for the protection of their identity and privacy. When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and seek permission before sharing patient data.