First commercial service to de-identify & link data that does not need NIGB/ECC review

December 25th, 2011 by Rob Navarro

August 2011 – The NHS’ National Information Governance Board’s Ethics and Confidentiality Committee concluded their review of Sapior’s innovative Enhanced Trusted Third Party (eTTP) service.

Though the review was requested for a specific GP-HES linkage project, NIGB/ECC members concluded that when using Sapior’s eTTP service there was “no disclosure of patient identifiable data without consent” and so no permission was required to legitimately carry out the collection and linkage activity.

The NIGB/ECC committee did add the caveat that if the recipient of the de-identified data intended to further link with other data sources then NIGB/ECC should be approached.

What this means is that for projects which:

  • only require de-identified data
  • currently have to collect, link and de-identify their own data
  • can not obtain consent from all the patients

they no longer have to seek permission for this collect, link and de-identification activity if using the Sapior eTTP service.

The reason this is the first time unconsented sensitive data collection and linking can legitimately proceed (without first requiring NIGB/ECC review) is that Sapior’s eTTP service builds upon the latest privacy enhancing technology research combined with NHS based testing. No sensitive data ever leaves the facility it is usually housed in and at no time does Sapior (employees or servers) ever see unencrypted data.

“This represents another milestone on the way to enabling ethical data sharing” says Robert Navarro, Managing Director of Sapior Ltd. “Increasing legitimate access to health data without sacrificing patient confidentiality is key to unlocking improved patient outcomes and better health service efficiencies.”

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