In November 2019, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google had acquired access to millions of patient records through a partnership with the nonprofit hospital chain Ascension.1 Coming just months after Google and the University of Chicago were sued over a similar arrangement, news of the Ascension deal renewed debate about the ethics of health systems sharing data with big tech. However, this debate has focused narrowly on issues of patient consent and privacy, while neglecting the more fundamental ethical question of how to ensure that the benefits and burdens of data sharing are fairly distributed among patients, health systems, and technology companies.
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McCoy MS, Joffe S, Emanuel EJ. Sharing Patient Data Without Exploiting Patients. JAMA. 2020;323(6):505–506. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.22354
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