Sen. Warner requests data standards be added to HHS sharing rules

(Nov 21, 2019) HealthITSecurity reports U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., has called on the Department of Health and Human Services to include new data standards in its proposed data-sharing rules. Warner's aim with the standards recommendation is to ensure protections on patient data with growing interoperability. "I share the goals of advancing interoperability in patient health information and believe that — implemented appropriately — this proposal could represent a significant step in that direction," Warner ... Read More

House reps seek answers on 'Project Nightingale' by Dec. 6

(Nov 19, 2019) Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee have asked Google and Ascension to provide answers on “Project Nightingale” by Dec. 6, Reuters reports. In their letters to both Google and Ascension, the four committee members posed questions about what data is stored by Google, the employees who can access the information, and whether patients have been informed about the project. “While we appreciate your efforts to provide the public with further informati... Read More

Whistleblower explains decision to reveal 'Project Nightingale'

(Nov 18, 2019) In an op-ed for the Guardian, an unnamed individual revealed why they decided to make “Project Nightingale” public. The whistleblower worked with Google and Ascension on the project and wrote their decision centered on patients not knowing their data would be shared. “Data security is important in any field, but when that data relates to the personal details of an individual’s health, it is of the utmost importance as this is the last frontier of data privacy,” the whistleblower wrote. In respon... Read More

Apple developing research app using health data

(Nov 15, 2019) The Financial Times reports Apple has announced plans to launch a research app that would collect user health data from iPhone and Apple Watch owners for the purpose of product development. Apple said the app will work to "advance science" and hopes such a pitch will entice data subjects to opt in to data collection. Users will control app participation, know which studies they join and remain apprised on results. Apple also claims no data will be sold to third parties through the app. Meanwhile... Read More

Groups call for US government to block Google-Fitbit deal

(Nov 14, 2019) A coalition of privacy, consumer and social justice groups has asked the U.S. government to block Google’s deal to acquire Fitbit, CNBC reports. In a letter to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the nine groups cited privacy and antitrust concerns as reasons why the government should step in to stop the proceedings. The groups wrote Fitbit would help Google to increase its dominance over internet searches, as well as give the tech company another avenue to gather health information.Full Story... Read More

Report: 51% of US health providers lack HIPAA right-of-access compliance

(Nov 14, 2019) An updated report from Ciitizen, a platform that helps patients access their health records, has revealed 51% of U.S. health care providers are not in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act's right of access, HealthITSecurity reports. The scorecard shows 27% of providers scored a one-star rating for their compliance. Compliance issues for 86% of providers stem from patient-requested data transfers. "The high percentage of providers who would be compliant but for ... Read More

Icelandic DPA offers children's privacy ruling

(Nov 13, 2019) The Icelandic Data Protection Authority has ruled Icelandic Health Insurance was right to request child custody verification in exchange for access to a child's personal information. The case presented to the DPA involved a complaint from a data requester regarding the insurance company's verification policy, which called for either consent from a custodian or the presentation of a custody certificate. The DPA affirmed IHI's actions based on the complainant's lack of a family number on the Natio... Read More

OCR announces 'Project Nightingale' investigation

(Nov 13, 2019) The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights announced it will investigate Google and Ascension’s “Project Nightingale,” The Wall Street Journal reports. OCR Director Roger Severino said the agency “will seek to learn more information about this mass collection of individuals’ medical records to ensure that [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] protections were fully implemented.” A Google spokeswoman said in a statement the tech company will be “happy... Read More

NIH seeks input on data management, sharing plan

(Nov 13, 2019) The U.S. National Institutes of Health is seeking public comments on a draft data management and sharing policy, HealthITSecurity reports. The proposal includes privacy and security methods to ensure confidentiality of collected data. “Respondents generally agreed that researchers should prospectively outline where, when, and how scientific data resulting from NIH-funded or conducted research will be managed and shared while allowing for data sharing exceptions, when justified,” the notice state... Read More

'Project Nightingale' allegedly collecting millions of US health records

(Nov 12, 2019) Google and Ascension health system have allegedly been performing a mass data collection project involving tens of millions of U.S. health records across 21 states, The Wall Street Journal reports. The collection, titled "Project Nightingale," began last year and is believed to involve extensive patient profiles that include names, birthdates, lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records. A whistleblower told the Guardian the project involves 50 million patients who, along with thei... Read More