The United States’ healthcare privacy laws are needed for an update to bring them up to date and ensure that individually identifiable health information is secured regardless of how it is gathered and disseminated.

Why there is a need for an update in law?

  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule is more than two decades old, which does not keep with the new developments and requirements in the health sector.
  • Health applications and other technologies are now collecting health information, and technology companies are sharing and selling consumers’ sensitive health information. The HIPAA does not address the use of technology to collect healthcare and health information.
  • Certain developing technologies used to record, retain, and transmit health data are not covered by HIPAA and hence do not benefit from its protections and safeguards.
  • Although the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules established rules for the privacy and security of health data, HIPAA applies solely to HIPAA-covered businesses – healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses – and their business associates.

What is new in the law?

  • New bipartisan legislation has been presented to begin identifying and closing existing privacy gaps connected with developing technologies to improve the protection of health data, including health data that is not currently protected under HIPAA.
  • The new bill establishes a new commission charged with assessing current federal and state rules governing health data privacy and recommending enhancements to keep pace with the evolving technology landscape.

A dozen medical associations and technology vendors have endorsed the Health Data Use and Privacy Commission Act, including the Federation of American Hospitals, the College of Cardiology, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Association of Clinical Research Organizations, Epic Systems, and IBM.                                             

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Pallavi Singh

Content Writer, WCSF

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