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Insurance Firms Barred from Using Health Data to Sell Policies

The government has launched the Digital Information Security in Healthcare Act (DISHA) to keep a check on the misuse of digital health data

  • 03 May 2018
  • 2 min read
  • 24 views

The government is all set to monitor insurance firms, that use the health data of people to sell them policies. They have launched the Digital Information Security in Healthcare Act (DISHA) for the same.

According to the draft, "Digital health data, whether identifiable or anonymized, shall not be accessed, used or disclosed to any person for a commercial purpose and in no circumstances be accessed, used or disclosed to insurance companies, employers, human resource consultants and pharmaceutical companies, or any other entity as may be specified by the Central government."

The draft also says that, “Insurance companies shall not insist on accessing the digital health data of persons who seek to purchase health insurance policies or during the processing of any insurance claim. Provided that for the purpose of processing of insurance claims, the insurance company shall seek consent from the owner to seek access his or her digital health data from the clinical establishment to which the claim relates.”

Thanks to this move, any breach of health data is punishable by 5-year imprisonment, and a ₹5 lakh fine. The move was also welcomed by experts, since it allows the closure of many loopholes to the misuse of digital health data, and makes the digitalisation of healthcare easier.

What is surprising though is that globally, about 45% of people are willing to share health data with third parties. According to a survey conducted by a prominent health insurance company, people are willing to share their data with doctors (59%), a national health database (49%) and global bodies such as the World Health Organization (47%). On the other hand, the trust for insurance companies is low, with only about 35% trusting them.

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