Skip to main content

We’ve updated our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy. By using this site, you agree to these terms.

Geisinger becomes the first member of Risant Health

Geisinger’s principles for the ethical use of data

As a healthcare organization, Geisinger collects personal information about you as a patient or health plan member. In fact, we’re often required to do so. The data we collect is key to our mission as a learning health system: to deliver the best and safest care, to advance medicine and healthcare delivery and to educate future healthcare professionals. We have an ethical obligation to use data responsibly. That’s why we’re transparent about how we use and share your data to support our missions — while protecting your privacy and interests.

1. Data collection, uses and types

The data we collect about you is essential to caring for you and others. We use it to perform and improve the way we:

  • Provide healthcare and insurance services
  • Train future doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals
  • Develop healthcare innovations and make new discoveries to help patients at Geisinger and all over the world

The data in your electronic health record is linked to you in several ways (e.g., date of birth, address). Sometimes we combine information from multiple people and analyze that. For example, we can see if flu cases are increasing in our region, or measure how many Geisinger patients have seen a primary care provider in the past 18 months. And we often deidentify data by removing names, exact dates and other identifying information before using or sharing it. Using deidentified data, a cancer researcher might see that subject 32PL35 had a lung biopsy in 2013. They wouldn’t see that the patient was John Smith, and the procedure was on June 18, 2013. Whenever we can, we use and share combined or deidentified data rather than data that readily allows identification of individual patients or health plan members.

Using data helps us improve our systems and processes so we can deliver the best possible care. For example, Geisinger’s ProvenCare programs are based on analysis of procedure outcomes. Analyzing combined data from thousands of patients who have had a certain procedure, like knee replacement surgery, tells us what works best. We also use data to identify people who may benefit from services like flu shot clinics, health and wellness classes or health screenings such as colonoscopies. And we do several types of research using patient data — all with the aim of improving care. This research:

  • Improves our understanding of the human body in health and disease
  • Advances medical treatments, such as developing new drugs to fight cancer
  • Helps us understand consumer needs and preferences, such as who will benefit most from telehealth visits rather than office visits

2. Data sharing inside Geisinger

Besides the members of your healthcare team, others at Geisinger may access your data to make sure you and other patients receive the best care. For example, your doctor may need to consult other clinicians, who would need to review your electronic health record. Learners, including students, residents or fellows, may need supervised access to improve their diagnosis and treatment skills. Researchers may use your clinical and health insurance data (usually deidentified) to develop or improve treatments, programs and services. Every Geisinger employee is educated and trained in the appropriate use of patient and member data. Anyone accessing that data without authorization is subject to disciplinary action, including termination.

3. Data sharing outside Geisinger

Federal and state laws require us to share some types of data outside Geisinger, such as to help track the spread of disease. We also share data with other organizations (e.g., hospitals, physician groups, pharmacies, insurance companies, universities, research partners, business associates) to improve and advance the care that you and others receive.

Whenever we share data outside Geisinger, we do it securely and responsibly, following all laws and regulations. Through legal contracts, we hold our external partners to the same standards. Experts in law, ethics, privacy and technology make sure we only share data when it’s legal and ethical to do so. And whenever possible, the data we share outside Geisinger is deidentified. 

Geisinger doesn’t sell patient or member data to marketers or others.

4. Data security

We comply with all applicable federal and state laws and follow best practices to protect your data against loss, theft, unauthorized access, use, modification or disclosure. We train our staff and monitor their performance in keeping your data secure. And we follow a clear process for collecting and responding to complaints.

5. Data accuracy and access

We try to collect data accurately, completely and in a timely way. You have a right to see the information in your electronic health record that’s legally available to you. You may also contribute data important to your healthcare and tell us if anything in your record is inaccurate or incomplete. In general, Geisinger will only restrict you from accessing your health information to reduce the risk of death or physical harm to you or another person.

For more information on how medical information about you may be used and disclosed and how to access this information, see the Geisinger Notice of Privacy Practices:

Discover how Geisinger’s research helps provide the best care possible to our patients and improves the health of our communities:

Content from General Links with modal content