Center of Health Data Sciences
Health Data Privacy
The Poikela group aims at understanding patients’ views on privacy and strengthening trust through innovative privacy-enhancing solutions in order to support the patients’ willingness to disclose data for medical research, and to enhance adoption of digital health solutions. The work takes the form of patient-centric design of privacy-enhancing technologies, and incorporates various methods of user research.
Our research lays the foundation towards patient-centric privacy solutions by establishing adequate understanding of patients’ attitudes, including their view on privacy and knowledge of various privacy technologies as well as risks and benefits of health data processing. Additionally, the healthcare professionals’ opinions and needs with respect to data protection in the healthcare context are assessed. Based on these, in close collaboration with the Praßer and von Kalle groups, concepts for improvements or development of new technologies for improving privacy and increasing the utilization of health data will be established.
With the aim to facilitate the use of health data for medical research and digital health solutions, we create privacy-enhancing technologies, assess patients’ awareness and understanding of such technologies, and design methods to improve this awareness and understanding. The considered solutions include supporting the patients as well as medical professionals with informed consent, understandable anonymization frameworks, as well as solutions providing desired granularity of control over data disclosure.
Inadequate privacy controls can have a negative impact on public trust and thus acceptance of medical research and digital health solutions. At the same time, overly strict data protection regimes also have a comparable negative impact. Therefore, the Poikela group works towards holistic privacy solutions with the patient at the center, aiming at finding and realizing an optimal balance between privacy protection and data utilization.