Manitoba scraps plan to combine health cards with driver's licenses

(Jan 20, 2017) The Canadian Press reports Manitoba will not be going forward with a plan to combine health cards with driver's licenses. Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen said concerns about additional costs, the work needed to change legislation, and the impact on storing health information were the primary reasons for why the idea will not proceed. Goertzen said if Manitoba wants to revive the idea of a single personal information card, it will need to be done correctly from the start. "We also have to determi... Read More

Pediatrician leaks confidential information before taking his life

(Jan 20, 2017) CBC News reports on pediatrician Dr. Alain Sirard, who sent a USB key to Québécor containing sensitive information before taking his own life. Sirard was the subject of several disciplinary hearings after several parents accused him of falsely claiming they had abused their children. The USB Sirard sent contained excerpts of medical files, reports from child protective services, and summaries of investigations carried out by the Human Rights Commission. The documents in the USB contained the nam... Read More

OCR settles with life insurance firm over impermissible ePHI disclosure

(Jan 19, 2017) The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights has agreed to a HIPAA settlement with MAPFRE Life Insurance Company of Puerto Rico based on the company’s impermissible disclosure of unsecured electronic protected health information. MAPFRE will pay $2.2 million for potential noncompliance with the HIPAA Privacy and Security rules. MAPFRE filed a breach report on Sept. 29, 2011, stating a USB data storage device had been stolen from its IT department. The device containe... Read More

Proposal for Home Office to regulate health care surveillance rejected

(Jan 19, 2017) The U.K. Home Office has rejected Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter's request to monitor the increasing use of both body-worn and CCTV cameras in hospitals, the Guardian reports. After his letter was released this week, it became clear that Porter "had warned ministers last year that the privacy of millions of NHS patients was put at risk by the unchecked use of the cameras," the report states. "Despite our best attempts, voluntary adoption [of surveillance oversight] has not worked …... Read More

Portuguese government to propose cancer database

(Jan 17, 2017) Despite concerns voiced by the data protection authority, Portugal's government intends to present to the Parliament a plan for a national cancer registry. Marco Saias of PRA - Raposo, Sá Miranda & Associados writes for Privacy Tracker that the registry would comprise a "collection and analysis of data from all cancer patients diagnosed and/or treated in national territory, in public and private health establishments and services, regardless of their legal nature." The CNPD released an opini... Read More

ONC announces winners of provider, consumer health data challenges

(Jan 17, 2017) The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology announced the winners of its Consumer Health Data Aggregator Challenge and the Provider User Experience Challenge, Healthcare IT News reports. The consumer challenge was won by PatientLink Enterprises. Contestants were tasked with finding a way for consumers to easily access and securely integrate health care data from providers using different health IT systems. PatientLink’s solution was a cloud-based application, making ... Read More

Portuguese government proposes national cancer registry

(Jan 16, 2017) The Portuguese government intends to present to the Parliament a government bill regarding the creation of an electronic National Cancer Registry, or RON, consisting of the collection and analysis of data from all cancer patients diagnosed and/or treated in national territory, in public and private health establishments and services, regardless of their legal nature. The bill comes despite concerns of the Portuguese Data Protection Authority (CNPD), which has already expressed concerns in an op... Read More

New privacy rule simplifies sharing of substance abuse treatment records

(Jan 16, 2017) Modern Healthcare reports the Obama administration has released a final privacy rule making it simpler to share the medical history of individuals receiving substance abuse treatment in federally funded drug and alcohol programs. Under the new rule, patients can sign a single consent form allowing their information to be shared by naming the intended recipient, such as the name of an organization, according to a statement made by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The... Read More

Report: Health data breaches doubled in 2016, but fewer records lost

(Jan 16, 2017) A Protenus report reveals data breaches nearly doubled in health care organizations last year, but far fewer patient records were lost in the cyberattacks, SC Magazine reports. The report found 27.3 million records were compromised in 2016, down from 113 million in 2015. Health care suffered 450 breaches in 2016, up from 253 in 2015. “While it may seem that there is a significant drop between the total patient records affected by health data breaches from 2015 to 2016, most of that difference is... Read More

Data Privacy and Legal Assistant Intern, UNOPS, New York, NY

(Jan 13, 2017) Background information: Global Pulse is an innovation initiative in the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General. Our focus is harnessing new digital data to help the public sector understand more expediently how communities are coping with the impacts of global crises. To this end, Global Pulse is developing a 21st Century approach to impact monitoring, building social software for evidence-based decision making, and establishing a network of  “Pulse Labs” to mainstream the use of real-tim... Read More