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Biosurveillance: Government to track your health as a matter of national security

Darlene Storm | May 26, 2014

The draft proposal claims NHSS will create “health situational awareness” made up from “many types of health-related and non-health-related data.” A graphic illustration of inputs to health situational awareness includes: non-health sources like informatics, supply chain, energy, environment, event driven, media, social determinants, transportation services, active intelligence and veterinary. Examples of health-related sources include: morbidity and mortality, lab/diagnostics, social service utilization, disease prevalence, health service utilization, public health investigation and response asset data. All of the above are merely part of the big picture, or “examples” of what data feeds into the “biosurveillance” portion of public health and medical situational awareness.

Put another way:

Situational awareness will involve collecting, aggregating, and processing data from both traditional and nontraditional sources (such as social media) and from various governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders, while ensuring that data from all sources are of high quality. Health situational awareness will include the ability to interpret data to create relevant, tailored information that decision-makers can use. Decision-makers will have the capability to visualize and manipulate data from many sources to create an operational picture suited to the specific situation and the decisions before them. 

Brase warns that the “government’s biosurveillance plan is much more intrusive than the data collection currently being done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).” It “talks about the need for the ‘examination of data from electronic medical records’ and calls for ‘cooperation among federal and non-federal stakeholders, including the scientific community and public and private healthcare providers ... to achieve an efficient and reliable surveillance system.”

She added, “It’s very clear to us that really the government is moving toward real-time access, toward close collaboration of government and doctors for ready access to the electronic medical record and then to conduct research and analysis.”

“The scary truth is that this government surveillance program brings together several federal agencies—all who will be able to view, share, interpret and research the data collected through the system,” CCHF warns. “Cut through the jargon, and simply put, the government’s plan means that your medical records would be shared with government officials."

Source: Computerworld


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