Google DeepMind patient app legality questioned

The head of the Department of Health’s National Data Guardian (NDG) has criticised the NHS for the deal it struck with Google’s DeepMind over sharing patient data.

By Jane Wakefield
Technology reporter for BBC

In a letter dated February and leaked to Sky News, Dame Fiona Caldicott throws doubt on the legality of sharing 1.6 million patient records.

Patients should have been informed about the deal

Google said that the deal was covered by

implied consent

This rule exists to allow the NHS to share medical data with third parties for direct patient care, without informing patients about each deal.  In the case of the partnership with DeepMind, data was collected from patients at the Royal Free Hospital Trust in London in order to test an app to help doctors and nurses identify those who might be at risk of acute kidney disease.

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