HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Monday, June 4, 2012

2nd International Summit on the Future of Health Privacy

Like Frank, here, I am happy to be speaking at this week's Health Privacy Summit at Georgetown Law Center, here. As I considered the smart questions Frank posted about "Big Data" it struck me that the topic has attracted little attention from health law scholars. Most of us are still struggling with the limited HIPAA rules mandating confidentiality and security or HITECH's new breach notification model. In the meantime the absence of any limitations on data collection (the true role of privacy regulation) has inextricably resulted in the creation of "big data."  The metaphorical rhetoric of such data aggregation is as quaint as it is disturbing; we will experience a "gold-rush" after which data is going to be "mined" so as to "extract value." As Frank notes healthcare stakeholders are joining the rush, frequently encouraged by government programs like Meaningful Use and hyperbolic statements about the public goods value of our health data (ironically best achieved when the data finds its way into private hands!). Meanwhile opinions like Sorrell, here, marginalize any public policy in favor of controlling the reach of big data. This week's Summit promises an opportunity to take stock of Big Data even as instrumentalism threatens to run riot. [NPT]

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