The Health Ministry of Malaysia has launched the Malaysian Health Data Warehouse, a repository of health-related data collected from Malaysia’s hospitals.

The health data system will start off with health information from approximately 2.5 million patients, from both public and private hospitals. More data will be collected in the second phase of the initiative.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam was quoted by The Star Online as saying that the integrated data centre could help healthcare professionals and caregivers “make more educated decisions” for treatment.

“With better analysis, we can provide service and treatment that is evidence-based, and more cost-effective solutions,” Dr Subramaniam said. Security was an “utmost priority” as well, he added.

In a separate The Star Online report, Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah was quoted as saying that the health data system will not reveal individual personal information about patients, such as names and addresses. “The names are all blank (blanked out). It is only the health information that we want, such as the di­sease and treatment,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

However, a member of the Malaysia Medical Council has voiced out concerns over the “ethical and legal implications” that are related to patient confidentiality. Dr Milton Lum has called for “statutory oversight” over the health data system, Malay Mail Online reported.

Dr Lum was quoted as saying, “How is [the data] going to be kept confidential? Nobody knows.”

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