By David JohnstonUpdated March 16, 2018 12:59:58AUSTRALIAN FOODS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW About health data and data sharing Health data is a big deal in Australia.
A recent report from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation said the amount of health data held by businesses and individuals was now at the “critical mass” needed to help improve health outcomes.
It found there was a need to create better health data sharing arrangements.
“Health information is increasingly being used for all sorts of commercial and personal purposes, including for advertising purposes, social media marketing and for the development of marketing campaigns,” the report said.
“We need to understand where and how this information is being used.”
Dr Stephen Williams from the Australian Centre for Health Information Technology at the University of Sydney says this is a “big deal”.
“This is a massive, huge, huge issue that we have not really really thought about, and we need to look at it because it’s the big issue we’ve got,” he said.
Dr Williams said there was currently a lack of transparency around the use of data.
“There’s no clear way to understand what data is being collected or how much is being shared, it’s not really transparent and it’s a real issue that needs to be addressed,” he told ABC News.
“Data sharing is not the right way to go, but we’ve just got to get on with it.”
The Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organization recommends health data be used in all areas of a business, including marketing and communications.
This means a business could have a health information system in place for marketing, for example, and they could have an information technology team working on the business.
This would include information about who is accessing the information, how they use it and what their needs are.
However, there is no legislation requiring companies to use health data, and it is up to each company to decide how they want to use it.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is currently examining the use and regulation of health information, and will consider whether the information is adequate to protect consumers and promote a healthy lifestyle.
The Commonwealth has previously recommended health information should be made available for free online.
However the ACCC said it was not currently seeking advice on the use or regulation of data, including data on health, on social media.
The ACCC is currently investigating the use, and regulation, of health and wellness information online.
It is seeking a range of submissions on the issue from industry, and is expected to release a final report in April 2020.
Dr Simon Smith from the University, Melbourne, said companies were being forced to pay for access to health data.
“The fact that health data companies are being forced into providing this information, or in some cases, the information itself is a form of blackmail,” he explained.
“Companies are being given a tax cut for providing the information that they don’t want.”
Dr Smith said the ACCCC was also concerned about the cost of data and healthcare costs.
“This kind of data is incredibly valuable, and in fact is an investment in our future, but also in the health and well-being of future generations,” he noted.
“The fact of the matter is that healthcare is a huge industry, so it’s very difficult to get accurate information about costs for healthcare, and so there are huge opportunities for the ACC to take a stand and try and address the problem.”
The Australian Health Practitioners Council is also currently investigating data sharing in the healthcare sector.
The council’s president, Professor Peter Collins, said there needed to be a “zero tolerance” approach to data sharing.
“It’s not just about a tax break for the data companies and their data, it also involves the data providers who have to provide that data to the healthcare industry,” he stated.
“So we want to get it right.”
Mr Collins said there were “big data” issues that needed to come to the forefront.
“I don’t think we’ve really seen that in our current government,” he remarked.
“But what we have seen is a sort of ‘big data’ push by the Abbott government and it has really come to a head.”
He said it would be a mistake for businesses to assume that this data would be free.
“A lot of businesses are being pressured into sharing their data with third parties, so we need a very strong public health agenda,” he concluded.