Digital health’s privacy predicament

Regulations that enable patients to summon medical records through consumer apps aim to usher in an era of choice and convenience. But not everyone sees eye to eye on the consequences. Some industry players are becoming more vocal about privacy concerns—“patient privacy can’t be retrieved once it’s lost”—while others argue the shift allows patients to push back on paternalism in medicine.

A similar tension looms in scientific research. On one side, access to vast health databases is restricted in the name of privacy and commercial integrity. On the other, the ruling philosophy is the wider research access, the more discoveries to benefit us all.


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