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Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Japan

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Healthcare Data Policy Project

Challenge

Healthcare is at the frontline of one of the most crucial debates of the Fourth Industrial Revolution—namely, how can we extract value from personal data while protecting people’s privacy?

On a range of globally pressing issues—from pandemic-response to genomic research to the treatment of ageing-related deseases—it is in healthcare where practitioners, business leaders and policy-makers are being forced to confront the toughest questions about the ethics of handling sensitive personal information. The answers will shape information policy for the broader 21st century digital economy.

So what governance models and stakeholder actions can promote the socially beneficial use of healthcare data while protecting important values like privacy? Currently, there is little global consensus, and the problem is compounded by differences is health systems and laws from country to country. A multi-stakeholder approach is needed to build trust and reach across national and sectoral barriers.

Opportunity

Our goal is to drive the global debate about data use in healthcare and present a model for real-world governance implementation that will improve people's health and wellbeing and shape data policies and regulations in a wide range of fields.

Japan is well placed to lead in this area: it is a “super-ageing” society at the forefront of global demographic change, and it has a highly centralized (and data-rich) public health insurance system. Japanese models and experiments could provide valuable hints for other countries as the chart their own futures, with the Forum and other organizations such as the UN acting as amplifiers.

Impact

In the past two and a half years, we have published three white papers and presented key concepts (e.g. Authorized Public Purpose Access) that have attracted attention from a range of companies and countries for their implications on important issues including measures to combat COVID-19.

This project is part of the Forum platform "Shaping the Future of Health and Healthcare.”

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