Hospital bosses provide 'anonymous' patient data to artificial intelligence healthcare company - The Leamington Observer

Hospital bosses provide 'anonymous' patient data to artificial intelligence healthcare company

Leamington Editorial 28th Jun, 2019 Updated: 28th Jun, 2019   0

HOSPITAL bosses will provide ‘anonymous’ patient data to a artificial intelligence healthcare company.

South Warwickshire Foundation Trust (SWFT) – which runs Warwick, Stratford, Leamington and Shipston hospitals – will provide anonymous data about test results, diagnosis, prescriptions, procedures and outcomes.

The data – which it will not seek permission from patients to share – will then be used for research, improving patient care and the commercialisation and marketing of medicines.

But GP and NHS data protection officer Dr Neil Bhatia says not enough is known about Sensyne and the data it handles.

He is demanding examples be shown of the anonymous data the company was being given by SWFT.

Dr Bhatia told the Observer: “I want to see a sample of the data that Sensyne is being provided with, to know for sure it is truly anonymised.

“With the arrangement with Sensyne there is no way of saying you do not want to take part. We have to take it on trust that it’s being made anonymous. You can’t object to your data being used, but it is within the law.

“The problem is if you adjust the data that much by making it that anonymous you lose the value of it.

“Hopefully this information is being used for advancing but there is always a hidden agenda somewhere. Someone is making money from this.”

But the trust says all data leading to possible identification is removed before it is shared.

A spokesman said: “Information that is anonymised does not identify an individual directly and cannot be used to determine identity. The data we share with Sensyne does not contain names, addresses or postcodes and is additionally processed to replace any potential identifying fields with artificial identifiers.”

The trust joins Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Oxford which signed a similar agreement in 2017. This year George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust and Wye Valley Trust – both which have the same chief executive and chairman as SWFT – also invested in shares in Sensyne.

As shareholders the trusts will receive some revenue from the company.

SWFT chief executive Glen Burley said: “We are excited to continue working with Sensyne Health. The ability to use clinical artificial intelligence will support research advancements, helping to make improvements in clinical efficiency and safety.”

Earlier this month the chief executive of NHS England spoke out against trusts sharing data due to safety risks.

He said trusts had been advised not to enter into ‘side agreements’ with private companies to ‘ensure data was being used safely’.


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