A concept for Open Health Data

With the advent of 21st century and technology moving forward at a fast pace, the capability of computers to crunch and analyze a large amount of data sets has increased significantly. This increase in capability can be utilized to better understand the diseases patterns and to come up with new breakthroughs in curing the disease. But, this requires that the healthcare data should be available in the public domain. With the data available in the public domain, researchers can access the data to spot patterns in which a disease is spreading or can help identify the people who are at a higher risk of catching a specific type of infection.

With the data available in the public domain, there are a number of benefits involved which can help an individual as well as the broader community.

My idea of a system providing the Open Health Data is to to have something which can store the health records in a centralized location. The system should provide portability to carry over my data when I move from one place to another so that I will be able to share it with the medical professional whenever the need arises. Concerning the privacy aspects of the data, I will not like myself to be individually identified by a person who can look over my data. So, anonymity is important. A rather extension to this fact is the concept of providing consent whenever my data needs to be used for a specific research.

To provide freedom of choice to the users, APIs can be made available to the application developers so that they can tap into the power of the system while offering other features to the clients.

With the system in place, a medical professional while being anywhere in the world, will be able to easily access the records of the patient, helping diagnose the problem or by providing a second opinion. The increased data can be utilized by the researchers over the world to find the changes in the patterns in the spread of diseases, come up with better medications looking at drug effect data on the problems.

Personally, I am favor of such a concept, because a patient has the right to know what is he being treated for, what the doctor is thinking and should easily be able to move his data whenever required. Yes, there are concerns about privacy that certainly needs to be addressed in this concept but being in the emergency room, a patient might be more concerned about saving his life rather than his privacy.

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