Data protection and ethics requirements for multisite research with health data: a comparative examination of legislative governance frameworks and the role of data protection technologies

James Scheibner, Marcello Ienca, Sotiria Kechagia, Juan Ramon Troncoso-Pastoriza, Jean Louis Raisaro, Jean Pierre Hubaux, Jacques Fellay, Effy Vayena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Personalised medicine can improve both public and individual health by providing targeted preventative and therapeutic healthcare. However, patient health data must be shared between institutions and across jurisdictions for the benefits of personalised medicine to be realised. Whilst data protection, privacy, and research ethics laws protect patient confidentiality and safety they also may impede multisite research, particularly across jurisdictions. Accordingly, we compare the concept of data accessibility in data protection and research ethics laws across seven jurisdictions. These jurisdictions include Switzerland, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom (which have implemented the General Data Protection Regulation), the United States, Canada, and Australia. Our paper identifies the requirements for consent, the standards for anonymisation or pseudonymisation, and adequacy of protection between jurisdictions as barriers for sharing. We also identify differences between the European Union and other jurisdictions as a significant barrier for data accessibility in cross jurisdictional multisite research. Our paper concludes by considering solutions to overcome these legislative differences. These solutions include data transfer agreements and organisational collaborations designed to 'front load' the process of ethics approval, so that subsequent research protocols are standardised. We also allude to technical solutions, such as distributed computing, secure multiparty computation and homomorphic encryption.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Law and the Biosciences
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Advanced cryptography
  • Biomedical data
  • Data protection
  • Data sharing
  • Multisite research
  • Personalised healthcare

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