7 reasons why anonymization
of patient medical data is useful.
Anonymized data has great potential to improve healthcare. Large amounts of medical data are generated every day around the world, and every year it gets more and more.
In our article we present 7 reasons why anonymizing medical data in healthcare could be interesting and useful for hospitals, doctors, and medical professionals.
#1: Anonymization to reduce costs
The analysis and rapid transmission of health data can lead to faster medical decisions, better quality of care, disease prevention, and cost reduction, in addition to driving innovative healthcare solutions.
#2 Compliance with regulations and laws
Anonymizing or removing personal information that can identify the patient is the first important step in complying with regulations and addressing privacy concerns which can lead to better healthcare outcomes. One example would be the regulation on IT security in hospitals (Section 75c of the German Social Code, Book V), which applies in Germany from January 1, 2022, and requires hospitals to bring the security of processed patient information up to the current state of the art.
3# Privacy principles do not apply to anonymous information and data
Once personal data has been anonymized, it is no longer covered by the data protection provisions such as the GDPR (recital 26 sentence 5 to the GDPR). This is especially true for information and data that relates to an identifiable or identified natural person, or general personal data that has been anonymized so that an individual is no longer identifiable. It must also no longer be possible to make the person again identifiable.
#4 Anonymized sensitive data can help speed up medical decisions.
Physicians and medical professionals can send anonymized data quickly and securely without waiting for a privacy officer to review or undergoing lengthy data processes. This can lead to faster medical decisions, which automatically leads to improved patient care.
This automatically leads to point 5.
#5 Secure exchange of medical data
When it comes to using and sharing patient data, strict rules apply with regard to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other regulations.
Large amounts of sensitive patient data are stored, used, and shared on a daily basis in various healthcare facilities such as hospitals, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and others.
Videos, documents, and images of patients contain personally identifiable information (PII) and should not be easily shared or sent. Unfortunately, sending data – whether to third parties or to patients – often occurs under insecure conditions that can also allow unauthorized access by unwanted third parties.
CDs, USBs, and conventional e-mails are comparable in terms of data protection to a postcard that anyone can read. Here, too, even sending them would constitute a data protection violation.
The GDPR does not apply to anonymous data, and anonymized personal data can no longer be associated with a specific person. Sending sensitive patient data with anonymization is therefore possible. Whether a doctor’s office, research institute, or hospital: everyone benefits from anonymization.
#6 Secondary use of data
Data protection regulations such as the GDPR stipulate that any processing of personal data requires the patient’s consent. An important factor here is purpose limitation – this means that you can only process the data for the purpose that you explicitly communicated to the data subject when collecting the data. This means, for example, that a patient’s data cannot be used for another clinical trial, no matter how much this might contribute to the progress of the research. If you work with anonymized data, you can use it multiple times without requiring additional consent.
#7 Keep relevant information while protecting personal data
Innovative solutions, such as the ShareMedix data anonymization and dispatch tool, provide editing capabilities where users can keep relevant data visible and recognizable, while automatically anonymizing the personal information of anyone whose data is not needed for the purpose of the investigation. For example, a patient requests access to a surveillance video that also shows other patients and medical staff. The medical facility has not obtained permission from third parties to share their data with the requesting patient. All persons, except the patient, can be made unidentifiable.
Use ShareMedix to anonymize patient or other medical data.
There are many reasons why anonymization makes sense in healthcare. If you want to learn more about ShareMedix or about new and innovative technologies or artificial intelligence, check out our blog or visit our corporate website: www.theblue.ai If you still have unanswered questions, we will be happy to help you. Use our contact form or send us an email. We will get back to you as soon as possible. You can also visit our FAQ section. There we answer frequently asked questions about data anonymization and ShareMedix.