Letters The NHS’s care.data scheme

Making a hash of data: what risks to privacy does the NHS’s care.data scheme pose?

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g2264 (Published 25 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2264
  1. Gareth E Hagger-Johnson, senior research associate1,
  2. Katie Harron, research associate2,
  3. Harvey Goldstein, professor of statistics2,
  4. Roger Parslow, senior lecturer in epidemiology3,
  5. Nirupa Dattani, senior research fellow4,
  6. Mario Cortina Borja, senior lecturer2,
  7. Linda Wijlaars, research associate2,
  8. Ruth Gilbert, professor of clinical epidemiology2
  1. 1Institute of Child Health/Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK
  2. 2Institute of Child Health, University College London, London, UK
  3. 3Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health and Therapeutics, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  4. 4Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research, City University London, London, UK
  1. g.hagger-johnson{at}ucl.ac.uk

Care.data proposes to link individual level hospital episode statistics (HES) and general practice data at the Health and Social Care Information Centre. As is currently the case for HES, linked data will be pseudoanonymised before being released to researchers.1 A proposed alternative is for identifiers (such as NHS number, date of birth) to be pseudoanonymised at source,2 using an encrypted hash, before linkage is performed.3 4

Pseudoanonymisation …

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