Posted on November 15, 2018 by Abigail Carter-Langford
Do you know how safe your personal health data is? When the Cambridge Analytica Facebook data scandal exploded onto news headlines, it put into question what we as consumers are willingly, and likely unknowingly, sharing about ourselves, and how that same data may be used to the advantage of others. In fact, it has become abundantly clear that our personal information has become a valuable commodity.
It’s easy to understand the impact if your financial information is misused, but what happens when your personal health care data is exploited?
Consider a recent patent filing for a hands-free speaker that would allow it to detect coughing, and then conveniently offer advertising for cold and flu products. Under current legislation, this is a legal use of our data and information yet the question to ask is: is it appropriate for health information to be used for commercial gain and profit?
Canada Health Infoway is dedicated to upholding the strongest protection for personal health care data. One of the ways we do this is through PrescribeITTM, an e-prescription service built to eliminate the need for paper prescriptions and safeguard patient health data from commercial use, and is available to health care professionals across the country.
Digital health care is here. Protecting your most private information and safeguarding it from misuse must be the priority and it starts with consumers asking better questions, like:
- How will my health information be used and with whom will it be shared?
- Will my information be sold?
- How secure is my health information?
If we don’t take that first step, there is a risk that information about our health will be used in ways we wouldn’t expect, or want. Canadians must appreciate the full value of personal health care data and so it is up to each of us to expect more, starting with ourselves.
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As a Vice President and the Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) at Infoway, Abigail promotes Infoway’s commitment to addressing health information governance, including the privacy and security of personal health information, throughout the digital health industry and within Infoway. She is also responsible for Infoway’s Risk Management, Compliance, Procurement and Legal functions.