John Nosta and Sheila Sahni on Patient Privacy: Part 2

“If we give them ownership, it will help engagement [and] improve outcomes, because now they can get better care."

Patients should be have more control of their health data. That's according to Sheila Sahni, MD.

“If we give them ownership, it will help engagement [and] improve outcomes, because now they can get better care. When they go to an ER, [they can] save us from repeat testing,” she said.

Sahni spoke to Healthcare Analytics News in a joint interview with John Nosta, president of Nostalab and a health advisor to Google, at Digital Pharma East in Philadelphia. She said current interoperability issues are unacceptable.

Then she proposed a solution: a barcode system stored on a smartphone. When scanned, it would allow physicians anywhere to pull up a patient’s health records.

Sahni acknowledged that patients might fear digitizing their health records in light of rampant data breaches. But Nosta countered with an anecdote about a neighbor who pays his bills by mail because he believes online banking is “too risky.” He noted the irony of instead trusting the mail service, and said that worrying about the future of privacy without also considering potential evolutions in security technology is unfair.

“We have to look at the progression of security, along with the progression of innovation. I think we're seeing fundamental changes in security that will keep pace,” he said.

Shahni said an advanced security system, like face recognition requirements on a smartphone, could be the key to ensuring data safety.

“I think that sometimes people are in an adoption sequence. Not everyone adopts at the same time,” Nosta said. “I think we'll see a shift.”