According to CNBC, Facebook sent a doctor on a secret mission to ask hospitals to share patient data. Facebook was also in talks with top hospitals and other medical groups as recently as last month regarding a proposal to match patient data with their user data.
The idea was to build profiles based on these matches that would include medical conditions and prescriptions issued, as well as social and economic factors pulled from Facebook. The stated intention was to “help the hospitals figure out which patients might need special care or treatment.” Being cautious of what they are doing post-Cambridge Analytics data leak scandal, Facebook stated that the project is on hiatus so it can focus on “other important work, including doing a better job of protecting people’s data.”
But when that clearly hasn’t been a priority for the data giant, the statement rings hollow. For Facebook’s 2 billion users, many of whom are outraged by this latest revelation, the real issue isn’t just how Facebook now plans to protect its users but how data is used in the United States – and who the data actually belongs to.
In this climate of heightened awareness, healthcare organizations need to put customers first by making privacy and security of data actionable priorities. You’ve probably heard it said that, in the digital age, data is the new currency. But they’re wrong; the new currency is trust. It’s hard to come by these days, so any organization that can distinguish itself as a source of trust will have no trouble attracting business.