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August 9, 2019

Big Data, Big Tech, and Protecting Patient Privacy

Author Affiliations
  • 1Harvard Law School and the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • 2Stanford Law School and Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
JAMA. 2019;322(12):1141-1142. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.11365

The market for patient data has never been more active. Technology companies, from startups to giants, are eager to access electronic health record (EHR) data to build the next generation of health-focused products. Medical artificial intelligence (AI) is particularly data-hungry; large, representative data sets hold promise for advancing not only AI companies’ growth, but also the health of patients.1 Companies’ overtures to major hospitals about data sharing have highlighted legal and ethical uncertainties as to whether and how to undertake these relationships.

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    1 Comment for this article
    Big data means big role for primary care
    William Phillips, MD, MPH | University of Washington
    Most big data - like most health care - is delivered outside of the hospital where big electronic health records control the flow of information. Designation, evaluation and implementation of new systems for "data sharing governance" should involve community-based primary care clinicians and their patients (1).


    1. Mainous III AG, Phillips WR. Big data research requires a big role for primary care. Fam Med 2016;48(6):427-9.