FastCompany: Our health data can help stop COVID-19, but we need strong safeguards to protect it

Healthcare data is some of the most sensitive information belonging to an individual. As a result, it falls into a uniquely protected class in the U.S. The new coronavirus pandemic has put health data front and center—timely, accurate reporting of new cases is critical in our fight against COVID-19, and we know it. While only 29% of surveyed Americans would be comfortable sharing their location data to help fight the new coronavirus, 55% are willing to share health information for that same purpose.

In an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus, the government and private sector are taking actions to make the sharing of health information easier. Apple and Google jointly announced a contact tracing or “exposure notification” framework to alert Americans who were potentially exposed to COVID-19, while the Trump administration relaxed HIPAA oversight to streamline the use of telehealth services.