UK NHS to share data causing data privacy concerns among patients

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NHS UK has made a public announcement yesterday that it is going to share the data of its patients with third parties that are involved in AI-based research and development programs that benefit the field of Medicine. However, the patients have the option of opting out of this latest update, provided they fill in a form a submit it to their GP Clinic before June 23rd, 2021, respectively.

 

Thus, going forward, NHS will be sharing the information of its 55 million patients in England who often visit their general practitioner clinic for treatments. The objective of information sharing is to allow academics and commercial 3rd party businesses to use that data in the research and planning of new drugs and future innovation of Medicines.

 

Sources say that the initiative was taken after the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee had a tough time in beating the COVID 19 Pandemic with the apt medication/vaccination due to lack of historical patient data share and access.

 

While on one hand, the data advocates are crying out that the information shared could lead to privacy concerns among patients, Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary of the UK assured that the information sharing will be done scientifically as patient data will be transcribed into digital numbers that can only be understood by computing machines processing huge data sets.

 

But what if the database is targeted by hackers like the one witnessed in May 2017 when UK NHS was targeted by a WannaCry Ransomware spreading gang.

 

Cybersecurity Analysts state that the decision taken by NHS to use patient records for academic research has a valid standpoint. However, unless it is done under strict surveillance, none of the benefits could reach the populace.

 

Note- In the year 2013, NHS was involved in a similar data-sharing program called ‘Care Data’ where all the patient data belonging to the Govt backed healthcare services provide was being stored in a central repository. However, the procedure was abandoned in 2016 due to privacy concerns.

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Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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