Who Owns Patient Data?

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Who Owns Patient Data?

Who owns patient data? Is it the patient or the collector of the data, being health facilities? This has been an on going argument most times the health facilities winning because the documentation comes from them. Largely supported by the patient failing to request or demand that data. Can we blame the patient? The tradition for patients for as long as they've been going to hospital has been, it's the hospital that will or should keep their health information and only take home a receipt as proof of hospital visit. Sometimes a scan where the case was dire, or, a referral letter without any other health information. In a referral case, the patient may have to repeat tests in the new health facility. Repeat of tests means the patient will spend more money and time never mind how serious the situation may be.

The above has been the on going tradition in Sub-Saharan Africa. Patients have been denied access to their health data as well as ownership. What does it mean to own your health data you ask? The term 'own' means 'used with a possessive to emphasize that someone or something belongs or relates to the person or thing mentioned' according to google dictionary. We see the word 'posses' in the definition and we can all agree that means the subject rightfully belongs to specific owner(s).

Enough with the descriptions, what is right to say from this finding is, patients have the rightful ownership of their health information and should demand to be given this same data by health institutions. Failure to know that one has this right may sometimes result in fatality. Think of an emergency case where one is rushed to hospital by a good-samaritan who knows nothing about them. The doctor/health practitioner will have to treat the symptoms they are seeing at that particular time with out the benefit of any health history. Most doctors will agree that working without any medical history or medical information of the patient can lead to fatal cases.

Speaking about ownership of health data, AfyaRekod offers patients a chance to do exactly that. This is by giving them a chance to fill in their medical information and upload their medical documents. They have control of that data and access to that information. The deal gets even better with the Universal Patient Portal by AfyaRekod: You can now store and access your health records on multiple devices as the Universal Patient Portal is a blockchain driven, consolidated and mobile data health passport, that allows patients consistent access to their health-records, as well as access to a marketplace of various health services within the ecosystem in real-time. Your one stop shop for your health-data at your fingertips.

Quality healthcare is a fundamental right. All patients deserve quality healthcare and everyone is indeed a patient: until the journey begins. Accessibility and availability of your health data can save your life and is part of ensuring you get quality healthcare.

If you haven't, begin storing your health data on the Universal Patient Portal by AfyaRekod and take charge of your health!