The revelation comes in a recentNew York Timesarticle about how so-called “scrubbed” patient dataisn’t as anonymous as people think. The piece focuses primarily on how anonymized data can be cross-bred with other publicly available databases, such as voting records, which subverts the anonymity. Buried near the end of the article is the news that medical data is collected, anonymized and sold, not by insurance agencies and health care providers, but by third-party vendors who provide medical-record storage in the cloud.
Electronic health record (EHR) services have been a growing industry in the last few years, according to Sue Reber, marketing director of the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology. Reber says most vendors used to simply sell software packages; once the product was sold, the vendor had no connection to the data stored in it. But an increasing number of companies have begun to offer web-based software-management applications that include database storage controlled and managed by the vendor
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