Conclusion: The Imperative of a Resilient, Patient-Centric CRO
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Julian Galluzzo
July 28, 2021
min read

5 Ways to Balance Data Privacy and Sharing for Clinical Research

In the intricate universe of clinical research, the harmonization of data privacy with data sharing is a dance of precision and trust.
The imperative to protect individual confidentiality while fostering a collaborative environment for scientific discovery presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities.
With a commitment to innovation and ethical responsibility, the industry navigates these waters with clear vision, and PVR -
Clinical Research Organization - is no different.
The Importance of Data Privacy in Clinical Research
Data privacy is the bedrock of trust in clinical research, a safeguard against breaches that could turn sensitive information into "potential headlines" (Kasalo, 2021).
Regulations like GDPR and HIPAA impose stringent standards for privacy, underscoring the "critical nature of confidentiality in healthcare services" (Anju, 2023).

How to Balance Data Privacy and Data Sharing
● 1. Establish Clear Data Governance Policies
A robust data governance framework is fundamental, setting clear access boundaries and purposes for data usage, thereby "embedding privacy into every project's DNA" (Kasalo, 2021).
● 2. Utilize Advanced Data Anonymization Techniques
Anonymization is a critical tool in maintaining privacy during data sharing; techniques such as differential privacy ensure that researchers can share data while "protecting individual identities" (Rodriguez et al., 2022; Chevrier et al., 2019).
● 3. Embrace Secure Data Sharing Platforms
Secure data sharing platforms are essential for maintaining control over data privacy; by using platforms with "robust encryption and access controls" (Modi et al., 2023; Navale et al., 2021), researchers can facilitate secure data exchange.
● 4. Foster a Culture of Privacy Awareness
Cultivating privacy awareness is vital – it turns every team member into a "defender of data integrity" (Chevrier et al., 2019), which is crucial for preventing breaches.
● 5. Engage in Transparent Communication with Participants
Transparent communication with participants solidifies trust and underscores the mutual benefits of data sharing.
Open dialogue about data usage reassures participants of their privacy's primacy (Shelly et al., 2023).
Navigating the Ethical Landscape of Data Sharing
The ethics of data sharing in clinical research are nuanced and complex; sharing clinical trial data serves two principal purposes: "verification of the original analysis and hypothesis generation" (Howard Bauchner, 2016).
It's an "ethical and scientific imperative" (Howard Bauchner, 2016), facilitating the advancement of scientific discovery, improvement of clinical care, and enhancement of knowledge from data collected in trials.
● Addressing Ethical Challenges
Ethical challenges arise in the context of pragmatic clinical trials, particularly around informed consent and the "limitations of informed consent to guide sharing decisions" (Morain et al., 2022).
Additional concerns include risks to health systems and clinicians, the use of data from electronic health records, and researchers' "limited control over sensitive data within such records" (Morain et al., 2022).
● Maximizing the Value of Data Sharing
Data sharing can address the issue of "incomplete evidence bases from primary trial publications, preventing the loss of data to the research community" (Howard Bauchner, 2016).
Individual participant data meta-analyses, facilitated by data sharing, hold the potential for "more precise, accurate, and directly applicable" (Howard Bauchner, 2016) insights into the effects of interventions, thus contributing to precision medicine.
Advancing Clinical Research Through Responsible Data Stewardship
The journey to balance data privacy with sharing is a collective effort, demanding vigilance and ethical commitment.
It's a pursuit that exemplifies responsible data stewardship, driving discoveries that respect individual rights while benefiting humanity.
Data privacy and sharing in clinical research are integral to the fabric of modern medicine; the challenge is to weave a tapestry that respects privacy while promoting progress.

Through strategic and ethical practices, the future of data management in research is being shaped to safeguard and respect participants.

Stay up to date with our latest news by entering your email below and clicking the subscribe button; also, do visit People Value Research’s website to learn more about leading the way in ethical data management.
Anju: What trial managers need to know on clinical trial data privacy. Anju Software. (2023, April 12);

Chevrier, R., Foufi, V., Gaudet-Blavignac, C., Robert, A., & Lovis, C. (2019, May 31). Use and understanding of anonymization and de-identification in the biomedical literature: Scoping review. Journal of medical Internet research;

Howard Bauchner, M. (2016, March 22). Data sharing. JAMA;

Kasalo, B. (2021, January 5). Importance of data privacy and security in trials: An overview for students of clinical research training. AAPS;

Modi, N. D., Kichenadasse, G., Hoffmann, T. C., Haseloff, M., Logan, J. M., Veroniki, A. A.,

Venchiarutti, R. L., Smit, A. K., Tuffaha, H., Jayasekara, H., Manning-Bennet, A., Morton, E.,

McKinnon, R. A., Rowland, A., Sorich, M. J., & Hopkins, A. M. (2023, October 23). A 10-year update to the principles for clinical trial data sharing by pharmaceutical companies: Perspectives based on a decade of literature and policies – BMC medicine. BioMed Central;

Morain, S. R., Bollinger, J., Weinfurt, K., & Sugarman, J. (2022, December). Ethics challenges in sharing data from Pragmatic Clinical Trials. Clinical trials (London, England);

Navale, V., Kaeppler, D. von, & McAuliffe, M. (2021, January 23). An overview of biomedical platforms for managing research data – journal of data, information and Management. SpringerLink;

Rodriguez, A, Tuck, C, Dozier, MF, Lewis, SC, Eldridge, S, Jackson, T, Murray, A, Weir, CJ. (2022, June 22). Current recommendations/practices for anonymising data from clinical trials in order to make it available for sharing: A scoping review. Clinical trials (London, England);

Shelly, C. E., Logan, C., Skorochod, B., Wiyeh, A., Ndwandwe, D., Choko, A., Valea, I. & Titanji, B. K. (2023, March 12). Creating a best practice template for participant communication plans in Global Health Clinical Studies – Trials. BioMed Central.

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