Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Big health data

Opt-in method is vital for data sharing

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 05 August 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4293
  1. Frank Sullivan, Gordon F Cheesbrough research chair1,
  2. Brian McKinstry, professor of primary care e-health2,
  3. Colin Palmer, chair of pharmacogenomics3
  1. 1Department of Family and Community Medicine, North York General Hospital, University of Toronto, 4001 Leslie Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M2K 1E1
  2. 2Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH16 4UX, UK
  3. 3University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee DD1 9SY, UK
  1. frank.sullivan{at}

We agree with van Staa and colleagues on health data, that “The ultimate solution, however, must combine new technologies with clear accountability, transparent operations, and public trust.”1 One method to achieve the necessary confidence is to create an opt-in mechanism for the use of patient identifiable data.2

Building on the Scottish Health Informatics Programme (SHIP) governance mechanisms and …

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