- Jodi Daniel, former federal policy director at ONC, and her current colleagues at the Crowell & Moring LLP recently stated giving patients more control over their health information could help with privacy considerations, Modern Healthcare reported.
- The authors, writing in a Bloomberg BNA opinion piece, mused on how to close privacy gaps in HIPAA related to protecting health information ONC recently identified in a report.
- To improve privacy protection of the information generated by wearables and mobile health apps, the authors also suggested considering new technological capabilities for data protection.
Enacted in 1996, HIPAA applies to “covered entities,” such as health plans, healthcare clearinghouses and providers, as well as their business associates. Mobile health technologies and health-related social media sites, on the other hand, fall under the category of “non-covered entities” (NCEs). But that’s where increasing numbers of people share personal health information.
Many people are confused or have a limited understanding of when their health data is protected by HIPAA and when it is not, according to the ONC report.
"The ONC report frames the privacy and security problems well and highlights many of the most critical deficiencies, but largely punts to the private sector to develop a solution," Daniel and colleagues wrote.
These technologies, the authors say, foster a "predictable business environment." As the authors see the ONC report as a clarion call for the private sector to help close these gaps, they posit three questions to be answered going forward: Why are standards beneficial? What should the requirements be? How should data holders be held accountable for meeting said standards?
In the third question, Daniel and colleagues believe a mechanism needs to be in place for accountability to the data holder. They posit that private sector could develop an accreditation program and the system could be used to demonstrate compliance.
"This convening is an important next step and could reduce the gaps in protections and the resulting problems identified in ONC’s report," they conclude.