Health data bazaar: Covering the legal trade in patient data

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health, science and medicine for AFP, the Bay Area News Group, Modern Healthcare, Wired, Scientific American online and many other news outlets.

cybersecurityThere’s a big focus these days on cybersecurity in health care, and rightly so, with the frequency and cost of data breaches.

But what about the legal trade in patient data?

Adam Tanner, a former Reuters reporter and now writer in residence at Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, has a new book out on the lucrative patient data industry. In “Our Bodies, Our Data: How Companies Make Billions Selling Our Medical Records,“ Tanner shows how patient data became a multibillion dollar industry but has not improved patient outcomes.

In this new tip sheet, Tanner offers fellow journalists a window into this world of patient data trading, identifies the key players and offers suggestions on what questions journalists should ask about the use and sale of patient data.

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