Private Access seeks to share health data for patients without giving up privacy

The company Private Access allows people with health conditions to describe their problems anonymously.
Robert Shelton was a successful real estate developer who became wealthy creating buildings such as the Palm Springs Convention Center. But his world was rocked when his son was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder. He then faced a quandary. He needed to find treatment for his son, but doing so would cost his family its privacy.
That dilemma ultimately spurred a business, Private Access, which is coming out of stealth today at the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco. The company allows people with health conditions to describe their problems anonymously. It also posts news of clinical trials of new treatments. It thus allows medical researchers and potential research subjects to find each other.
The Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based business combines matters related to health, social networking, and search. The motto: “privacy and access in perfect balance.” It tries to reconcile the need for “data liquidity,” meaning a two-way flow of health information, with the need for data privacy.
How, for instance, does a sick patient find treatment options without revealing his or her condition to family members, who might “worry too much.” The patient may also need help with insurance intricacies but may not want to give the insurance agency a reason to deny coverage.

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