Our Bodies, Our Data: Medical Records For Sale


While so much personal data is collected and available to marketers today, certain types of data is supposed to be protected and private. Financial data, for instance, is one type that is protected. And medical data is another type of data that is supposed to be kept private as well.

And yet medical data is also a commercial product. As long as your name, address, and other identifiers are removed, this type of data about individual patients -- blood test results, insurance details, prescriptions filled -- can be bought and sold on the market. Some of this information can be used to create better treatments, diagnoses, and more.

Yet not all companies are using this information for benevolent purposes. Advances in computing have made it increasingly possible for companies to join commercial marketing data about consumers to anonymized medical data, essentially re-identifying patients' medical information, which can then be offered for sale on the open market. The re-identified information can be used to find out about the medical conditions of individual consumers and used to market and sell them new drugs.

This process and practice is the subject of a new book, Our Bodies, Our Data: How Companies Make Billions Selling Our Medical Records.

Author Adam Tanner joins All Analytics radio to talk about the process and issues around private medical records and how they are now being re-identified and used for commercial purposes.

Join us for a discussion about medical records, marketing, and analytics on Tuesday, February 21, at 2 pm ET/11 am PT.



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