Why should you care about care.data?

Conrad Quilty-Harper writes for the Daily Mirror:

The launch of a controversial database which would centralise access to GP surgeries healthcare records has been delayed from April until Autumn. Why?

Let’s start at the beginning, this stuff is quite complicated.

What is care.data?

The NHS wants to share data collected at GP surgeries about individual patients so researchers can find ways to improve healthcare and generally make the NHS more efficient.

Since 1989, researchers have been able to request hospital episode statistics including billions of records from hospital visits.

Care.data will open up the data behind about 300 million patient consultations every year at GP surgeries.

The controversial bit is that this involves using identifiable information — like people’s date of birth, full postcode, NHS number or gender — to connect the data together.

The NHS says the data is protected, but people are still worried about the implications for privacy and doctor-patient confidentiality.

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