Anonymize your data
In the current list of information on the HITSPHERE site is a link to a story run by MIT Technology Review. Jeff Jonas, an IBM researcher, reports on ANNA, software that allows for deidentification of individuals stored in a database. Patient information is not just encrypted, but acutally irreversibly changed so that deencryption is not possible. This permits governments and corporate entities to share information in a confidential way.
Does this have an application for public health? As electronic lab reporting (ELR) becomes prevalent in the infrastructure, and the desire for transmission of data increases, institutions may desire more than just reportable conditions.
Examples? Well, NEDSS, Nosocomial surveillance, and the Biosense program for starters. Or sentinel surveillance for emerging conditions using electronic data (i.e. community-associated methicillin-resistant staphylococcal infections, or cancer registries).
But as with most things, it comes down to cost. How much will this cost a public health institution? Can't we imagine a more affordable way? Can't we develop/investigate an open source method?