In the past few years, there has been a debate on how personal health data should be handled in the U.S. Individuals such as Eric Topol and Eric Lefkofsky have weighed in on the matter. Eric Topol began by using Estonia as a point of reference. As the director and founder of Scripps Translational Science, he is in a better position to offer some insight into the matter. In Estonia, each person is responsible for managing their health data. The government has also supported this initiative. The country makes use of blockchain technology, and that way the data is safe and the patients can easily share their data.
Eric Topol was issuing his sentiments on the matter while attending a health conference in San Diego. He said that the U.S. has a long way to go before implementing a system whereby patients can own their health data. Such debates have been arising since personal health data is being sold, stolen, or even hacked. There are also many potential clients on the dark web who are willing to access this data. Hackers can fetch a good amount of money when selling this data.
In the U.S., personal health data is stored in servers, and that is why the data is susceptible to cyber-attacks. There are times where a hostage situation may arise, and hospitals are forced to pay a substantial amount to hackers to access the personal health data on the servers. When the personal health data is handled by the patients, it would be in the smallest unit size, which means it will be safer. In a civil rights perspective, his sentiments make a lot of sense. If only other countries followed in the footsteps of Estonia, global health information problems would be easily solved.
Jessica Mega is the CMO of Verily. The company deals with the life sciences. She was supporting the sentiments of Eric Topol. The co-founder of company Tempus, Eric Lefkofsky also weighed in on the issue. He supported the initiative about the patients owning their health data. The main challenge is that the data cannot be transferred from one system to another since the current infrastructure is broken.
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