There is enormous potential for medical research and development from the use of secondary health data. We define secondary data as information that is used for purposes other than those intended when it was collected. Secondary health data can be obtained from sources such as the internet, wearables, mobile phone apps, electronic health records or genome sequencing, among others. To make the best use of secondary health data, our article provides an overview of available sources and approaches to data processing, as well as indicators for the legal and ethical assessment of strategies for the use of secondary health data. Our work helps to ensure that health hazards can be detected and prevented earlier in the future.
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