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Sharing private medical information

Posted Aug 18 2009 10:20pm

Having yet (we’re all going to need care eventually) to be a patient of significance in health care, I’m extremely appreciative of individuals who share their private medical information.  There have been many and the collective good will improve awareness, medical science, and health care as Jeff Jarvisexplains in his Guardian column:

By revealing my cancer, I realise benefits, and so can society: if one man’s story motivates just one more who has the disease to get tested and discover it, then it is worth the price of embarrassment. If many people who have a condition can now share information about their lifestyles and experience, then perhaps the sum of their data can add up to new medical knowledge. I predict a day when to keep such information private will be seen by society as being selfish.

Collectively, we will use the internet’s ability to gather, share and analyse what we know to build greater value than we could on our own. That is the principle of transparency that I want companies and governments to heed: that openness in their information and actions must become their default, that holding secrets only breeds mistrust and robs them and us of the value that comes from sharing.

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