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Dec 13, 2018

Healthy Data

December 13, 2018

Policy solutions for big data and AI innovation in health

The health sector is undergoing a digital revolution, centered on big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI). How should we strike the right balance between encouraging innovation and protecting patients’ rights? The following report tackles this question.

Across Canada, Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are being rolled out, and AI researchers are forming partnerships with doctors to collect vast banks of health data for analysis. These changes promise to transform healthcare by enabling the discovery of new treatments, streamlining diagnoses, making care pathways more efficient, cutting costs, giving patients more control over their care and ultimately improving quality of life.

But there are risks involved in greater data sharing. Without oversight, we could end up with a system where chronic treatments are prioritized over cures, drug prices are wildly inflated, patients lose control over their personal information and health inequities increase. This is a moment to reflect on emerging trends in the shift to digital services and to set policy directions for the coming expansion of healthcare delivery and research beyond the walls of the health system.

This report surveys the changes afoot, weighs projected benefits against potential harms, integrates stakeholder opinion, maps out the policy challenges and proposes actionable recommendations.

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Catherine Stinson

Release Date

December 13, 2018



Mowat Research

No. 179


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