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Big Data, Big Brother: Remote monitoring boosts outcomes and privacy concerns : Family Practice News

CHICAGO – Big Data promises better outcomes and cost savings but begs the question of how much privacy patients are willing to give up.

Via smart phones and cloud computing, hyperspecific information on individual patients can be gathered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from GPS location, photographs, audio, and other forms of monitoring. Blood pressure, weight, and even pulse detection are already being tracked in some patients. Using advanced algorithms, patient alerts can identify those at risk and possibly allow early interventions that avoid critical events and reduce the cost of care.

“The question is, ‘How much do [patients] want to be monitored?’ ” asked Dr. Burt Lesnick, FCCP, of Georgia Pediatric Pulmonary Associates, Atlanta, during a presentation at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians. Monitoring can assist patients in managing their illness; but empowerment that comes at the cost of constant surveillance “sounds very Orwellian,” he said.

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