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Posted 13 Mar 2015 By Hossein Jalali
A couple of completely unrelated articles -- read back-to-back strictly by coincidence -- led to me wonder about the long-term ownership of some of our most critical data, that regarding our health.
We can argue all we want about the ethics of Google knowing all about our search and browsing habits. We can air concerns about Facebook drawing conclusions about our likes, dislikes, and relationships. We can wonder just what all those retailers, social media sites, and even publishers are doing with the data that we share with them.
However, none of that activity rises to the level of life and death. Our health records certainly meet that threshold, however.
The two articles I read today were an MIT Technology Review piece entitled "Who Owns Big Data?" and a transcript of an NPR interview, "Big Data Not a Cure-All in Medicine." As I said, they are unrelated, other than the fact that they made me wonder, "Who holds or owns my medical data?"
Of all the data that we produce throughout our lives, is there any that would be more important to have on hand in a single place? Let's face it, the time when bones are breaking or chest pains are, as the doctor says, "radiating" isn't the time to try to remember when you had that surgery many years ago or which of several sound-alike drugs you actually are allergic to.