If you wanted to put all the pieces of a person’s profile together, health care data would likely be the most important piece of the personally identifiable information (PII) puzzle. It’s powerful. A heartbeat can open a door. This data is the most important type related to a person, the crown jewel of PII data we hold and process. That is why — at least from a micro perspective — it is your own personal ‘national security’ data and should be protected as such.
Why do we call it ‘national security?’ The reason is simple: health care data provides a level of insight into a person that is otherwise secret. There is a type of data richness you cannot get from any other type of PII. Health care data is much more in-depth than any other types of data, such as consumer habits.
That data richness allows the data holder to offer a level of personalization that cannot be achieved through cookies, GPS location or purchasing habits. Indeed, the future of medicine may be defined by hyper-personalized care based on health care data. At the same time, this hyper-personalization means that if this data falls into the wrong hands, the risk goes up fast.
Health care data can be used to harm you. And as systems evolve, that harm could go well beyond simple financial fraud and identity theft. Instead, that harm can be used to target you specifically and manipulate you based on your health. The ramifications to the individual could be catastrophic, hence the heightened level of diligence and responsibility when handling this type of data.