[ Monday, March 28, 2011 ]


Interesting: A group of consumers in California (actually, I'm betting a group of clever lawyers, really) have sued Walgreens for data-mining the patients' prescription information. Apparently, there's a similar suit against CVS in Pennsylvania. Walgreens isn't selling the PHI; they de-identify the information first. But they have such large amounts of consumer information that, even de-identified, the information could yield useful data on trends, co-medication issues, and other information that would be useful to drug companies and others. So, the consumers aren't suing Walgreens for HIPAA violations; rather, they are saying that the value of the information Walgreens has (and is getting paid for) is really value that belongs to the customers, since it's their data that's beneath it all. I don't know; the value of the data in any particular patient's file is miniscule, if it exists at all, and the real value is having the information of a whole lot of patients in one place. The value, then, comes from what Walgreens does with the information (by amalgamating it), not in the individual files. We'll see how this turns out. Hat tip: Alan Goldberg

Jeff [9:31 AM]

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