The Anonymous Widower

The Sharing of Patient Data

David Cameron is getting a lot of criticism about his plans to anonymously share patient data with private companies.

As someone, who has lost two close relatives to difficult cancers and suffered a serious stroke, I can’t see what the problem is about, if the patients personal details are kept confidential.

I was once told by a senior research manager of a big German pharmaceutical company, that only about fifteen percent of medical databases have been analysed to any great extent. He felt that it would take an increasing part of medical research.

My son was part of a major trial being coordinated by a renowned British University.  I was invited to see their work and was totally impressed at the care they were taking to make sure the data was correct and properly safeguarded. They were also looking for patterns in the data, as any clue, however small, might be invaluable in the fight against disease.

One thing that has to be said, is that if you are looking at any database for patterns, then that database must be complete, with no errors in the data. I have come across researchers, who when they are trying to prove something in a field like archaeology, first clean the data of anything that doesn’t fit their theories.

That is the biggest problem in research.

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December 5, 2011 - Posted by | Computing, Health, News | , ,

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