ADAM TANNER - Our Bodies, Our Data



Monday, January 9th at 7pm

speaking & signing
Our Bodies, Our Data
How Companies Make Billions Selling
Our Medical Records





Adam Tanner’s latest work Our Bodies, Our Data is an investigative look into how the secretive trade of medical information has turned into a multi-billion dollar business: a global trade of medical data — prescriptions, hospital records, insurance claims — between healthcare providers and drug companies. Tanner also examines how the collection of big data could instead benefit patients. Join us tonight as Adam Tanner will be here to discuss his work and sign copies of Our Bodies, Our Data.


How the hidden trade in our sensitive medical information became a multibillion-dollar business, but has done little to improve our health-care outcomes

Hidden from consumers, patient medical data has become a multibillion-dollar worldwide trade between our health-care providers, drug companies, and a complex web of middlemen. This great medical-data bazaar sells copies of our prescriptions, hospital records, insurance claims, blood-test results, and more, stripped of names but still containing identifiers such as year of birth, gender, and doctor’s name. As computing grows ever more sophisticated, these patient dossiers are increasingly vulnerable to re-identification, which could make them a target for identity thieves or hackers.

Paradoxically, comprehensive electronic files for patient treatment—a key reason medical data exists in the first place—remain an elusive goal. Even today, patients and their doctors rarely have easy access to full records that could improve care. In the evolution of medical data, the instinct for profit has outstripped patient needs. This book reveals the previously hidden story of how such a system evolved internationally.

This investigative narrative seeks to spark debate on how we can best balance the promise big data offers to advance medicine and improve lives, while preserving the rights and interests of every patients. We, the patients, deserve a say in this discussion. After all, it’s our data.


Adam Tanner is a writer-in-residence at Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science and the 2016–17 Snedden Chair in Journalism at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. A correspondent at Reuters from 1995 to 2001, including as San Francisco bureau chief, he has also published in magazines includingScientific AmericanForbes, and Fortune. He is the author of What Stays in Vegas: The World of Personal Data—Lifeblood of Big Business—and the End of Privacy as We Know It.

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Event date: 
Monday, January 9, 2017 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Our Bodies, Our Data: How Companies Make Billions Selling Our Medical Records Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807033340
Availability: Out of Stock; Usually Arrives in 2-5 Days
Published: Beacon Press - January 10th, 2017

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