My Health Records amendment bill recommended for passage despite criticisms

(Oct 18, 2018) The Australian Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee released a report on the My Health Records Amendment (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018, ZDNet reports. The committee recommended the bill to be passed, which would give citizens the ability to delete their health records completely rather than just making them inactive. Despite agreeing to pass the bill, Labor senators called the legislation "woefully inadequate." "The Minister for Health dismissed inquiries into the My Health Record ... Read More

Anthem to pay $16M to OCR over 2015 data breach

(Oct 16, 2018) The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Anthem has agreed to pay $16 million to the HHS Office for Civil Rights to settle alleged violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy and Security Rules related to its 2015 data breach. Anthem's $16 million total surpasses a $5.55 million payment received by the OCR in 2016 to become the largest settlement ever received by the agency for a HIPAA violation. “The largest health data breach in U.S. history ... Read More

Health care CISO: Start protecting patient privacy at home

(Oct 16, 2018) Health care professionals should think beyond merely protecting the organization and start protecting patients' privacy at home, HealthITSecurity reports. "At some point, I'm going to have [to] start thinking about how to protect patients in their home," Christiana Care Health System Chief Information Security Officer Anahi Santiago said. "My information security program is not going to just be about the data center or the cloud but an extension into the patients' homes. So, we can be responsibl... Read More

Op-ed: How the 'internet of bodies' could be perilous

(Oct 16, 2018) In a column for The Washington Post, Mary Lee, a mathematician for the RAND Corporation, warns that "the line between human and machine is blurring — and creating new concerns about consumer safety and privacy rights." This wave of new health care technology will essentially connect the human body to the internet. She notes, "If retroactive privacy laws for the internet have taught us anything, we should consider establishing rules to govern the legal, privacy and ethical issues that are already... Read More

Aetna reaches settlements with attorneys general over HIV disclosures

(Oct 15, 2018) HealthITSecurity reports Aetna has reached settlements with several state attorneys general for disclosing the HIV statuses of 12,000 patients in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Aetna will pay about $100,000 to Connecticut, $175,000 to the District of Columbia, $365,000 to New Jersey, and an undisclosed amount to Washington state. The health insurer has also agreed to implement new policies and procedures to protect patients' personal health information and ... Read More

Health authority reaches $400K data breach settlement

(Oct 12, 2018) CBC News reports a settlement for approximately $400,000 has been reached after a former employee accessed patient health information. The Nova Scotia class-action lawsuit was levied against the former Capital District Health Authority. Between 2005 and 2011, a former employee accessed patient data of an estimated 105 friends and family without proper authorization. One of the lawyers representing the victims in the case said, "Having your private information accessed by somebody that you did no... Read More

FDA introduces 'playbook' for medical device cybersecurity

(Oct 3, 2018) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration introduced a preparedness and response “playbook” for health care delivery organizations to address cybersecurity threats to medical devices, Health Data Management reports. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement, “Even when medical devices are not being deliberately targeted, if these products are connected to a hospital network, such as radiologic imaging equipment, they may be impacted.” The guide states, “The playbook covers preparedness and... Read More

Express Scripts accused of overcharging for patient record requests

(Oct 1, 2018) A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Express Scripts accusing the company of overcharging for patient records, FierceHealthcare reports. Express Scripts allegedly charges a flat fee ranging from $75 to $90 for pharmacy record requests. Covered entities under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act are allowed to charge a flat fee of $6.50 for such inquiries, with the option to charge more if needed. The defendant claims he paid $90 to obtain six pages of records. “Defend... Read More

Researchers argue 'smart' pills pose greater risk than reward

(Sep 28, 2018) Despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a digital-ingestion-tracking-system drug in 2017, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago caution that it is premature for providers to use such "smart" pills in clinical settings, Health Data Management reports. The researchers state there is no evidence that such technology is beneficial to patients, and, instead, they argue it poses a danger to the patient-provider relationship. In a paper published in "The American Jour... Read More

India's Supreme Court rules Aadhaar constitutional with limits

(Sep 26, 2018) Aadhaar, India's controversial biometric identity system serving 1 billion citizens, is constitutional, according to a new ruling from the nation's Supreme Court. However, there are limits to its scope, according to BBC News, including mandatory use of it for bank accounts, mobile connections and school admissions. In a 3-2 vote, the court wrote, "Aadhaar gives dignity to the marginalised. Dignity to the marginalised outweighs privacy. ... One can't throw the baby out with the bathwater." Reacti... Read More