Ethics of Big Data Collection in Health Care Services

The highly innovational data collection is one of the most useful and controversial measures invented by people. Privacy concerns have already arisen the problems in social networks, which might sell the users’ data to third parties. Similar worries have awoken for the value of big data in medicine as it might ignite discrimination and other unwanted consequences. For instance, employers examine the genetic data of potential workers, or health insurance companies raise their bills according to the information collected from patients’ phones (Price & Cohen, 2019). This essay addresses the issue of privacy in health care services and examines the role of medical professionals in tackling the problem.

Big data in medicine is crucial for several studies directed to improving the health service quality. It can help assess the efficiency of a particular type of drug, monitor the patient’s condition after the treatment, evaluate the doctor’s performance, or help to develop some scientific hypothesis (Price & Cohen, 2019). However, such mass data collection is a serious downside: violation of the privacy of patients, who might be subjected to negative consequences of giving access to their personal information (Gostin et al., 2018). This disadvantage is the reason behind the slow development of the named approach.

As health care workers are the professionals who are most likely to use the collected knowledge, they can significantly assist in resolving this problem. They are responsible for handling and processing it in medical goals. The doctors and other medical personnel have to consider health privacy principles, which state the confidentiality of patient records (Price & Cohen, 2019). As a result, they can hinder discrimination by health; for instance, those patients with HIV can be saved from the pressure of society (Walker et al., 2017). To summarize, all health care agents must be considerate of the information they are using to solve the issue of health privacy.

There are some ways of how doctors can address the named issue. First, there should be a detailed policy about the use of the named data. The legibly written rules of application help the patients to understand what consent they are giving clearly. Moreover, it helps the doctors to recognize the scope of allowed invasion of privacy, thus preventing possible conflicts and misunderstandings. Second, medical professionals should thoroughly talk to their patients about the consent to access their data. Usually, determining the scope of what is right and useful is nearly impossible in terms of morality, as there are as many points as people in the world. The actions, which aim to help the patient, may deteriorate his situation, as for some people, their privacy is more important than health. Thus, hospital staff has to consider all variables of the consent to reduce the possibility of future mistakes.

To conclude, the health privacy problem is one of the most challenging questions to address because of the complexity of ethical morale. Severe disadvantages accompany the advantages of big data collection in the health care system. Hence, there comes the question of the compatibility of this seemingly useful approach. Even though there cannot be a distinct way of solving it, medical workers should always keep privacy matters in mind. The existing privacy rules, which are likely to be improved, should be delicately examined by both patients and doctors, as parties are better to know their rights and restrictions.


Gostin, L. O., Halabi, S. F., & Wilson, K. (2018). . Journal of the American Medical Association, 320(3), 233-234.

Price, W. N., & Cohen, I. G. (2019). . Nature Medicine, 25(1), 37–43.

Walker, D. M., Johnson, T., Ford, E. W., & Huerta, T. R. (2017). . Journal of Medical Internet Research, 19(1), 1-11.

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