During a time when our country is divided on just about everything, we seem to be united on our inability to deal with data.
We’re like new parents – we’ve read all the books; taken the classes; we know it’ll be an adjustment. Then the child comes home and we quickly realize how much we don’t know. Every phase of this young human’s life comes with a NEW set of unchartered challenges, which makes us feel even less qualified to deal with this level of responsibility. Now that data is getting larger, it’s become an out-of-control teenager that we’re struggling to capture, analyze and protect.
To give us a little credit, we’re getting better at capturing data. And we should because there’s plenty of it to go around. According to an infographic created by Domo that visualizes various studies on data usage, it is estimated that 1.7 MB of data is created every second for every person on earth. To give you some perspective, my first computer had a 500 MB hard drive. In today’s world that hard drive would be completely filled in less than five minutes with the data I produce just living my life. We’ve become blind to the size of our digital footprint and how much information we’re actually producing. The option of going off the grid is difficult as more of our daily conveniences are capturing our private information in attempts to keep us safe, enhance or lives and better our experience.
But is that really happening? Are we safer, healthier and better served?
You might have noticed your manilla chart at your doctor’s office has now been replaced by a laptop. Instead of your health history living in various charts across all sectors of healthcare, the plan is to create a complete personal health history so you can finally know within a few clicks if and when you had the chicken pox.
In 2013 author Luca Mearian mentioned, “The promise of electronic health records (EHRs) was that they would save the U.S. healthcare system up to $81 billion a year by streamlining workflows and creating massive clinical data warehouses that could be mined for information that could improve preventative care and disease treatment.” Fast forward seven years to the February 5, 2020 article by Yale Insights, “The reality is that most of our health records are scattered across disconnected systems. They’re often hard to access, riddled with privacy concerns, vulnerable to security breaches, and have the potential to be sold, transferred, or monetized without our knowledge. And despite federal and state laws aimed at improving access and security, the full potential of EHR always seems to be a few years away.”
Do you even know how to access your health history that has been stored in an EHR? No? Google does! And apparently so does Amazon and Apple. Google was recently cited by HIPAA regulators after its partnership with an EHR company allowed them full access to the private health records of 50 million Americans. What does Google need with my flu shot history?
of us will sacrifice a little of our private information in exchange for a better experience. I love that Target knows when I’m in the store so it can alert me to what’s on sale. But when Target starts pushing me to get a flu shot while I’m in the store because they have access to my health history, that crosses my line.
It all comes down to expectations. We as consumers are the only owners of our personal data. We need to understand what to expect in return from companies who harvest it. What are you willing to give away for the price of convenience?