The President of the General Medical Council of Schleswig Holstein, Franz Bartmann, emphasises that “[t]he smartphone is the future stethoscope”. And indeed, already today, the market size of eHealth companies amounts over 2.5m USD in 2017 and with an expected annual growth rate of over 17%, the market volume of innovative solutions in the medical science sector will increase exponentially. (Source: statista) However, many of the data processed in the health sector contain highly sensitive information about individuals. If this data is supposed to not only be analysed on a large scale but even transported through the internet, protection is key. Thus, the implementation of data protection principles through technical and organisational measures (e.g. encryption and functional separation of data) play a major role.
The protection of medical data can rely on a relatively extensive progress that was made during the last decades, because the societal value of data-driven research in this area has never been seriously doubted. Stakeholders in the medical field have therefore always sought to push such research progresses based on data processing, while at the same time reducing the data protection risks. For example, the illustration above depicts how the exchange of personal data is typically organised today to minimise the risk that a single entity has too much information about a patient. These concepts can also be transferred into the Internet age.