Privacy and Health Research. Research to Analyze Economic Factors


As every newspaper reader is aware, every aspect of health care now is being subjected to economic analysis—to size up the costs of illness and costs in specific episodes of care, evaluate cost-effectiveness of different interventions, see what effects various cost-related incentives have, and understand the component costs in healthcare systems. Virtually every healthcare institution and payor is performing such analyses.

Much of this economic research can be performed on anonymized/aggregated or key- coded data, but detailed analyses of individual patient experiences and the costs incurred may require the examination of personally identifiable data. Naturally much of such research draws at least partly on data in the large databases of healthcare payors.57,58

(57) Marthe R. Gold, Joanna E. Siegel, Louise B. Russell, and Milton C. Weinstein, editors, Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine(Oxford University Press, New York, 1996).

(58) Laura A. Genduso and James G. Kotsanos, "Review of health economic guidelines in the form of regulations, principles, policies, and positions," Drug Information Journal 30, 1003–1016 (1996).