Insurers pay Big Money for patient health data
Most health insurance clients (patients) don't appreciate that data from every claim is retained in what is the equivalent to a health 'credit bureau' where the most infinite detail is recorded and, from which, intimate health information can be derived.
The only real information they lack are the doctors detailed notes, although some doctors do 'share' them for money.
Apply for a life insurance policy and the first thing they do is to pull your file. 'Forget' to include some small detail, no problem the insurer knows. They'll still happily accept your premiums BUT CLAIM then they drag out the omission and deny you coverage.
The reluctance of the NHS "to make connections with other public sector agencies." is to be praised. How would you like Plod, investigating a criminal complaint against you, to be able to rummage around your health record looking for supporting evidence?
What, of a disclosure during treatment a patient said to their physician I can't sleep because of A, B or C. The doctor would understand the context in which this disclosure was made. However, Plod might say that having made this disclosure, and they are investigating an incident of type C, this is sufficient evidence to charge someone.
Do you really want any connected terminal to be able to look at your life with a few keystrokes?
When Canada switched to on-line data banks Parliament wisely set up a system where data is compartmentalised. An unauthorised agency seeking data has to apply to an access official who can judge the appropriateness of a data request and then that official, if satisfied, then retrierves ONLY the pertinent data. Audit trails ensure proper use.
For example: say the Passport office wanted to verify citizenship, they have full access to data banks with that data. Should the Passport office want access to pensions information, they would be blocked.
If a Plod seeks a person, one way is to access employer information from pensions or tax data banks. Application is made to the data guardians who consider the request and if they concur, they rather than Plod will ascertain an employers information.
The former Labour government had a fetish for data collection and universal file access. Imagine what ACPO could do! They could take their number plate database, check info with ownership information, and build a profile. If Tom Cobley goes to Blackpool, every other week, Plod could search the database and find out he visits a doctor.
UK citizens should question all data collection requests and challenge all opportunities for linking data.