Patient sues Google, University of Chicago over data sharing

Google and University of Chicago face lawsuit over shared patient data

Google and University of Chicago face lawsuit over shared patient data

According to the suit filed on Wednesday night on behalf of patients whose data was included in the partnership and filed in US District Court for the Northern District of IL, the agreement to study the application of machine learning to health care violated privacy laws governing the sharing of medical information.

The presentation dates back to yesterday and reflects the growing concerns about privacy, especially when there are technology giants like Google, Apple and Microsoft. It was part of a study, published previous year, that analyzed electronic health record data from more than 216,000 patients seen at either UChicago or the University of California, San Francisco.

The group inside DeepMind that acquired the data from National Health Service has since been transferred to Google, which has raised additional complaints from privacy advocates in Britain.

A Google spokesman said in a statement that it followed guidelines under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, that allow for disclosing personal health information without authorisation in certain instances for research purposes.

"We believe our health care research could help save lives in the future, which is why we take privacy seriously and follow all relevant rules and regulations in our handling of health data", a Google spokesperson told NYT.

"Ultimately, by getting the university to turn over these records, Google".

Ashley Heher, a spokeswoman for the University of Chicago Medical Center, said the center has complied with all privacy and health laws, cited by the Hill.

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"The Medical Center entered into a research partnership with Google as part of the Medical Center's continuing efforts to improve the lives of its patients", the University's statement explains.

The suit also claims that UChicago "did not notify its patients, let alone obtain their express consent, before turning over their confidential medical records to Google for its own commercial gain" and "engaged in a cover up to keep the breach out of the public eye so as to avoid the public backlash".

A lawsuit alleges Google could combine its geolocation data with time stamps on patient records to identify patients.

As for the other information contained in the registers, we talk about data such as height, weight, vital signs of people, ongoing illnesses and recent medical procedures. "The Medical Center is committed to providing excellent patient care and to protecting patient privacy".

In a blog post, Google states that it would soon be able to "accurately predict medical events, for example, if patients will be hospitalized, how long they will stay and their health progress".

But the lawsuit alleges that inclusion of dates violates HIPAA, which requires hospitals to hide personally identifiable information such as names and Social Security numbers.

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