2020 was the year when many consumers woke up to the culture of surveillance, and subsequent power of data in our lives. Over the past 12 months, data has been a strong thread through many of our top headlines - be it the pandemic surveillance, US elections, or TikTok’s algorithms. 

Healthcare is not immune to these privacy realities, and patient data security must be recognized as a key pillar in healthcare today.

Not long ago, the idea of companies understanding our patterns, behaviours, and even bodies was just fodder for sci-fi movies. Now anonymous hackers have the power to hold sensitive health data for ransom. As recently as October 2020, attackers in Finland were able to steal records related to therapy sessions, as well as patients' personal information including social security numbers and addresses, according to Vastaamo, the country’s largest private psychotherapy center.

We believe health data ownership can save lives. But this future begins with investing in more secure systems.

What’s at stake? 

While everyone may not want to understand their daily sleep score, or count their steps, we all will be impacted by the need to make informed decisions about our health and the health of people we love. As I share in our latest vlog series, my family and I were unable to have the data needed to make the right decisions after my father’s sudden cancer diagnosis. I know our story is one of millions. 

Health data ownership can save lives, and designing systems to ensure patient privacy and data security is the first step. If a health system can’t ensure privacy, it will never have the trust needed to truly empower patients.

Our work at Bowhead was born out of our own frustrations as health conscious, tech savvy consumers who weren’t able to securely own and control our health data. We’ve seen that data security conversations have largely focused on the individual, but we must acknowledge that the security of our health data is a systems issue. We need innovators to work together with physicians, policymakers, payers, and especially patients to harness the power of health data.  

Technologies like blockchain are capable of delivering on promises of a secure, decentralized system but not all stakeholders understand how to navigate this emerging reality. 

Stay tuned to our new series, Building Cyber-consciousness, this blog series is our way of demystifying this world of data & the technologies that are evolving our vision of healthcare 2.0. 

Let's co-create a healthcare system for the digital age:

Explore our growing content library and filter by the topics that impact your work! We've interviewed global experts from over 7 countries to understand the trends and tensions in the future of digital health.

We’re also excited to present the Bowhead Futures Digest: a newsletter for leaders looking to learn, debate, and co-create a future where technology & data empower our health.