When data from all aspects of our lives can be relevant to our health – from our habits at the grocery store and our Google searches to our FitBit data and our medical records – can we really differentiate between big data and health big data? Will health big data be used for good, such as to improve drug safety, or ill, as in insurance discrimination? Will it disrupt health care (and the health care system) as we know it? Will it be possible to protect our health privacy? What barriers will there be to collecting and utilizing health big data? What role should law play, and what ethical concerns may arise? A new timely, groundbreaking volume explores these questions and more from a variety of perspectives, examining how law promotes or discourages the use of big data in the health care sphere, and also what we can learn from other sectors.
Big Data, Health Law, and Bioethics is a volume edited by I. Glenn Cohen, Holly Fernandez Lynch, Urs Gasser, and Effy Vayena and stems from the Petrie-Flom Center’s 2016 annual conference. The event brought together leading experts to identify the various ways in which law and ethics intersect with the use of big data in health care and health research, particularly in the United States; understand the way U.S. law (and potentially other legal systems) currently promotes or stands as an obstacle to these potential uses; determine what might be learned from the legal and ethical treatment of uses of big data in other sectors and countries; and examine potential solutions (industry best practices, common law, legislative, executive, domestic, and international) for better use of big data in health care and health research in the U.S.
The conference was organized by the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, in collaboration with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and the Health Ethics and Policy Lab, University of Zurich. The book is published by Cambridge University Press.