Privacy issues raised over fight on opioid drug epidemic

(Jul 21, 2017) Utah state law currently mandates a warrant for the Drug Enforcement Administration to view the state prescription-drug database, but that is being weighed by U.S. District Judge David Nuffer in what he calls a “fascinating case,” ABC News reports. In a case that pits health care privacy against a need to combat the country’s opioid drug epidemic, concerns are raised once again as the DEA fights to be exempt from the state law. Previous rulings have sided with the DEA, and in a draft ruling, Nuf... Read More

Nova Scotia Health Authority patient records breached

(Jul 21, 2017) The Globe and Mail reports hundreds of patient records were inappropriately accessed in two cases that involved six employees. The 337 patients whose records were compromised are being notified by the health authority. Colin Stevenson, an NSHA executive, said the breach was "substantial," adding, "Any time there is a violation of privacy and confidentiality, we do treat it seriously." The six employees involved will likely face disciplinary action. "If they weren't part of the circle of care, if... Read More

Missouri announces prescription drug monitoring program despite privacy concerns

(Jul 19, 2017) Missouri has announced a new prescription drug monitoring program that could be up and operating within a month, The Associated Press reports. The executive order signed by Republican Governor Eric Greitens comes after previous attempts to institute drug monitoring programs had failed, due in part to privacy concerns raised over keeping medical records in a database. The plan has stated it will not use private medical information of patients, but rather it will analyze prescription and dispensin... Read More

Data-sharing agreement with Elections Saskatchewan violated privacy

(Jul 14, 2017) A report from Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner Ron Kruzeniski found Elections Saskatchewan should not have received citizens’ personal health information as part of its data-sharing agreement with eHealth, CBC News reports. EHealth has been sending the names, dates of birth, health service numbers, addresses and residency status of Saskatchewan residents to Elections Saskatchewan since August 2015. While Kruzeniski recommended amending the Health Information Protection Act to al... Read More

BloomAPI announces $2.4 million investment aimed at streamlining medical records

(Jul 14, 2017) BloomAPI announced a $2.4 million investment in software aimed at simplifying and streamlining the sharing of medical records between health care institutions at the request of the patient, a process often subjected to outdated technology, TechCrunch reports. Rather than attempting to fix the problems involved in the medical records system, the proposed technology works by sitting on top of existing systems, working with rather than against the existing process in place. Current privacy consent ... Read More

NHS doctors, nurses sharing patient info over WhatsApp, Snapchat

(Jul 13, 2017) Doctors and nurses all across the National Health Service have been using WhatsApp and Snapchat to share patient information, BBC News reports. Current NHS guidelines state the use of internet-based messaging apps to transfer patient information is prohibited. Forrester Analyst Kate McCarthy said NHS needs to address the issue in a timely manner or else it could face massive fines for data breaches. "I am empathetic with doctors because there is a need and desire among health care professionals ... Read More

ONC will continue to focus on privacy despite loss of CPO

(Jul 12, 2017) The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT will continue to focus on privacy and data security despite the phasing out of its chief privacy officer position, GovInfoSecurity reports. The agency has been focusing on boosting interoperability, improving data-sharing capabilities among electronic health records systems, and making it easier for patients to access their data. "The first step of thinking about interoperability is thinking about security," ONC Head Donald Rucker said. "When ... Read More

Analytics platform uses AI to detect illicit activities in health care

(Jul 12, 2017) Protenus is expanding its capabilities by using artificial intelligence to detect when illicit activity is occurring, MedCity News reports. The use of AI will help health care organizations detect actions, such as employee opiate theft, and determine whether health systems, payers and health information exchanges are at a heightened level of risk. “At our core, we are a workflow analytics company — our solution understands how patient data is virtually accessed and used during normal clinical an... Read More

OCR releases training module for HIPAA right of access

(Jul 7, 2017) The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights has released a video training module designed to help educate health care providers on patients' right to access under the HIPAA Privacy Rule. The training reviews the components of the HIPAA right of access and the ways it lets patients have more involvement in their care. The module offers recommendations for health care providers to integrate aspects of the right of access into their medical practices. The training video requ... Read More

Minister confirms Australians' Medicare info sold by 'darknet' vendor

(Jul 6, 2017) Australian Human Services Minister Alan Tudge confirmed his department did not know citizens’ Medicare information had been sold by a “darknet” vendor, the Guardian reports. According to a previous Guardian report, the vendor claimed to have access to the Medicare card details of any Australian citizen, with at least 75 Australians’ personal information appearing to have been sold on an auction site. In an Op-Ed for the Guardian, Ellen Broad explains why it is getting harder for Australians to t... Read More