One of the key reforms under review by the new Information Commissioner involves the introduction of “Data Adequacy Partnerships” which facilitates the exchange of data between states if they have similar regulatory policies in place. These agreements ensure adequate protections are maintained. However, this remains in flux between the UK and the EU as data flow is subject to Brexit sub-clauses if legislation between the two diverges.
This kind of “Data Adequacy Partnership” reform or agreement is drastically required in the healthcare sector where proprietary EHR (Electronic Health Record Systems) have a monopoly hold on patient records. This prevents ownership (or edit) by the originator – the patient. These electronic systems (for primary and secondary care) hold patient records in silos without clear regulations and central governance.
A new drive headed by WHO (World Health Organisation) and Michael Miller (About | CIC) is pushing for an open system to untangle the mess and importantly to allow interoperability of systems, providing patient ownership of their own data. This new Open EHR is being promoted by many leading governments and commercial operations to remove siloed data and to democratise healthcare systems. This will give back data to those who own it and from a practical perspective will enable systems to integrate into the NHS; unblocking and removing legacy systems that are holding back NHS system innovation.
A formalising of “Data Adequacy” standards will enable agreements through many sectors, from commercial to healthcare and between states and countries.
A company called DuckDuckGo has slowly grown and become profitable through organic growth despite competing head-to-head with Google. It has doubled its traffic year-on-year with keyword internet searches that don’t track your behaviour. It leaves your data and your searches in your hands using contextual targeting of search, rather than behavioural tracking that fuels advertising by creating a humungous dossier of your online activity.
The argument that behavioural search enables companies to deliver a more compelling and personal service is blown out the water and so too is their justification for data harvesting.
Data can be returned into the hands of the individual and the user and technology can find ways to still deliver an engaged and relevant service. In the same way, the proprietary EHR systems propound security but, they are self-serving and do not allow data ownership by the originator and system innovation through integration.
Can we expect our new UK Information Commissioner to build a brave new world that understands privacy, but also comprehends the barrier that can impose? We need bold new regulations and laws for a digital post-Brexit Britain that lead the way for trade and interoperability and with data laws based on common sense.