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A systematic literature review of Native American and Pacific Islanders’ perspectives on health data privacy in the United States



Privacy-related concerns can prevent equitable participation in health research by US Indigenous communities. However, studies focused on these communities' views regarding health data privacy, including systematic reviews, are lacking.


We conducted a systematic literature review analyzing empirical, US-based studies involving American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (NHPI) perspectives on health data privacy, which we define as the practice of maintaining the security and confidentiality of an individual's personal health records and/or biological samples (including data derived from biological specimens, such as personal genetic information), as well as the secure and approved use of those data.


Twenty-one studies involving 3234 AI/AN and NHPI participants were eligible for review. The results of this review suggest that concerns about the privacy of health data are both prevalent and complex in AI/AN and NHPI communities. Many respondents raised concerns about the potential for misuse of their health data, including discrimination or stigma, confidentiality breaches, and undesirable or unknown uses of biological specimens.


Participants cited a variety of individual and community-level concerns about the privacy of their health data, and indicated that these deter their willingness to participate in health research. Future investigations should explore in more depth which health data privacy concerns are most salient to specific AI/AN and NHPI communities, and identify the practices that will make the collection and use of health data more trustworthy and transparent for participants.

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