Implant devices collect patient data, but patients denied access

On the brink of a health information revolution that promises to offer round-the-clock body monitoring and personalized medicine, the medical implant company Medtronic has some sobering news for patients who use their devices: you don’t have access to the data collected by their devices on your vital organs.
That’s not exactly what patients want to hear, especially when implant makers are on an all out data grab to acquire real-time patient information using new technologies. Instead of being able to praise the strides that medicine is making with these implants, patients are left feeling out of the loop on their own health.
According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the company acknowledged that implants like their heart defibrillators collect a mass of data on the inner workings of patients’ bodies. However, current U.S. regulations dictate that the raw health data is only accessible to Medtronic customers, who are physicians and hospitals. While doctors can pull up the data in patient medical records for analysis, the data are not provided directly to the patients.
This means that the over one million people who have defibrillator implants that store and transmit their heartbeat data back to device makers must contact their doctors to learn about what’s going on in their chests.