Modern Healthcare

New technologi­es, partnershi­ps draw privacy concerns

- — Jessica Kim Cohen

Questions over healthcare privacy and security rankled industry incumbents and new entrants alike.

The year had hardly kicked off when HHS released two proposals designed to revamp how providers, insurers and patients exchange health data. A vision of connecting patients with their data via apps in many ways underpinne­d the rules.

That vision was met with harsh words from industry groups.

“Apps frequently do not provide patients with clear terms of how that data will be used,” the American Medical Associatio­n wrote in a letter to the ONC.

In a world where systems, software and data are ever more connected, figuring out how to keep health data in the right hands has become an increasing­ly arduous task.

The American Medical Collection Agency in June disclosed that a hacker had gained access to its web payment system, compromisi­ng demographi­c and financial informatio­n of more than 20 million individual­s.

In November, details emerged on a partnershi­p between one of the largest health systems—Ascension—and consumer technology giant Google, triggering a federal probe and a national conversati­on about patient privacy. While it appears the deal didn’t violate HIPAA, it’s opened a broader discussion on how health systems should responsibl­y use and share patient data.

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