How Do We Manage Privacy Issues When It Comes To Sharing Health Data?

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There is a really bipolar set of attitudes about privacy, there are people who are deeply concerned and have this opinion that everybody is worried about privacy and there is other people who think that privacy is not a problem at all and we should just all share everything. And it's amazing how many people actually fall in those two camps, there are some people in the middle but really it's too very separated groups of people.

And I think that one of the reasons to this difference is because they are looking at two different sets of data, there's one set of data where someone comes up and asks you, hey, give me all your health information, give me all your social information. I'm not going to tell what I'm going to do with it, just give it to me, of course nobody wants to do that, of course you're going to be concerned about privacy, if someone just wants your data and you don't know what's going to happen to it.

But there's a another set of people who said I want to give you something in exchange for that data, so you have a group like MU health, which has its health challenges and one of the things that we help them to do, is we help to try to get friends involved in this health challenges.

And one of the things that they discovered was people were extremely willing to log on to their Facebook and to share their information if what they're getting in exchange was some personalization that made it more likely that they will be successful fulfilling these health challenges.

And then all over a sudden you have a much large group of people saying yeah it's Okay for you to have access to this data, I understand what you're doing with it and I'm getting something out of it. And so I think that really what we need to do in this first few oral skills studies where we are matching the health data and matching the social data, is we need to make it really clear to the people who are giving this data for the purpose of research or opting into these studies, that they're going to be getting something really important in return.

That's going to give us better information about people's health and potentially also a better way to deliver interventions to make the whole society healthy.