Increased use of electronic medical records can improve treatments and diagnoses for patients, but they're also vulnerable to large data breaches. Are we sharing too much of our personal health data? It's a question worth asking after massive breaches of our personal health data in recent years and reports that, even in low-tech settings like a hospital waiting room, privacy protocols are faulty. According to the health trade publicationHIPAA Journal,more hospitals and doctors' practices reported breaches in 2016 than in any other year since the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Civil Rights, which collects data on leaks, started publishing breach summaries in 2009. Among the latest leaks: Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center in New York City left patients' names, home addresses, medical and mental health diagnoses, addiction histories, HIV statuses and even sexual assault and domestic violence reports exposed online.
What exactly is biotechnology, and how could it change our approach to human health? As the age of big data transforms the potential of this emerging field, members of the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Biotechnology tell you everything you need to know. What if your doctor could predict your heart attack before you had it – and prevent it? Or what if we could cure a child's cancer by exploiting the bacteria in their gut? These types of biotechnology solutions aimed at improving human health are already being explored. As more and more data (so called "big data") is available across disparate domains such as electronic health records, genomics, metabolomics, and even life-style information, further insights and opportunities for biotechnology will become apparent. However, to achieve the maximal potential both technical and ethical issues will need to be addressed. As we look to the future, let's first revisit previous examples of where combining data with scientific understanding has led to new health solutions. Biotechnology is a rapidly changing field that continues to transform both in scope and impact. Karl Ereky first coined the term biotechnology in 1919.
Apple is reportedly in talks with the US Department of Veterans Affairs to provide veterans access to electronic medical records on the iPhone, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Such a deal could help Apple make significant progress in its attempts to partner with more medical institutions and turn its mobile operating system into a repository for the storing and sharing of health data. The company first began discussing the plan with the agency last year, per emails seen by the WSJ, and it's unclear how the project has since progressed. However, it appears that Apple could be tapped to migrate medical records for as many as 9 million US veterans to dedicated iOS software, in order to simplify hospital visits and potentially improve care and treatment delivery times. Apple is said to also potentially provide engineering support for the agency as part of the deal.
Not every healthcare organization embraced electronic medical records (EMRs) at first. But the incentives and regulations put in place by the Meaningful Use and the Affordable Care Act have made it both financially beneficial and necessary to implement them. Now, organizations are not only embracing EMRs, but making it easier for their patients to access and manage them through remote portals. According to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, approximately 63% of patients who used portals did so at their doctors' recommendation. Despite the growing popularity of patient portals, there are still more than 25% of patients who refuse to use them because of privacy and security concerns, according to a 2018 National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) study.
Cerner was interviewing Silicon Valley giants to pick a storage provider for 250 million health records, one of the largest collections of U.S. patient data. Google dispatched former chief executive Eric Schmidt to personally pitch Cerner over several phone calls and offered around $250 million in discounts and incentives, people familiar with the matter say. Google had a bigger goal in pushing for the deal than dollars and cents: a way to expand its effort to collect, analyze and aggregate health data on millions of Americans. Google representatives were vague in answering questions about how Cerner's data would be used, making the health-care company's executives wary, the people say. Eventually, Cerner struck a storage deal with Amazon.com The failed Cerner deal reveals an emerging challenge to Google's move into health care: gaining the trust of health care partners and the public.