IMS is a global leader in health information stewardship — including privacy and data protection.
We firmly believe that patient health information used wisely and responsibly advances worldwide medicine and results in real value for healthcare communities. We believe just as firmly that this information, by its nature, can be highly sensitive to an individual and that individual privacy must be preserved and protected.
IMS provides objective, authoritative information to the national and international healthcare markets. As a company, we are patient privacy and data protection advocates — and since our founding more than 55 years ago, IMS has pioneered commercial practices to de-identify individual patients and sensitive data. This is a key component of our core competency in privacy. IMS relies on a combination of resources, policies and practices to ensure the leadership necessary to manage this information in a manner that balances a range of societal values, including the promotion of improved healthcare and individual privacy.
IMS's leadership is based on a set of shared beliefs:
- We are committed to protecting a patient’s right to privacy. That is why we use de-identified patient information in all of our syndicated information services and products requiring patient-level data. If IMS conducts a specific market research assignment linked to identified patients, the express prior consent, based on the provision of clear notice and limited purpose, will be obtained from the patients. If IMS performs services involving the use of identified patient information on behalf of healthcare service providers or others in possession of identified patient information, then the information will be used for the limited purpose for which it was disclosed and appropriate technical, administrative and physical safeguards will be applied to protect the information.
- IMS’s information services and products create value for the entire healthcare community. Our privacy stewardship assists us in maintaining the public trust necessary to deliver that value to society. To ensure we create value while respecting individual privacy, we employ a combination of privacy, compliance, legal and other resources, together with a combination of technical, physical and administrative safeguards, to ensure that privacy and data protection are core competencies.
- Information on treatment activities is more valuable to the healthcare community, and more conducive to legitimate public scrutiny, when it is linked to the health professional. Therefore, where lawful and consistent with appropriate public interests, IMS will make this link.
- We will be open about our services and products and, where required, offer appropriate choices for information collection or use to stakeholders in the healthcare community.
- We recognize that national laws differ among the countries we serve, and we will respect those differences.
- Security is important, and we will protect the integrity of personal data and health information in our charge.
- Information collected will be limited to what is needed to meet the healthcare community’s needs.
- IMS will be creative and proactive in advocating these principles throughout the world.
These core beliefs are a baseline set of values shared by all at IMS. All IMS operations are encouraged to meet this worldwide commitment and also will exceed it to comply with national law or to assure IMS’s continued leadership in health information stewardship. We codify and put these beliefs into action through policies, guidelines and internal procedures that are reflective of applicable local law. We expect to be held accountable for these practices and will proactively audit our policies, guidelines and procedures to measure our compliance.