RE-EVALUATING HIPAA IN LIGHT OF TECH CONCERNS

In a recently published article, Roll Call reported that tech firms are asking Congress to redefine medical privacy rules.  The article cites to the June 2014 Round Table meeting of the House Energy and Commerce Committee where tech industry leaders told Congressional leaders the current HIPAA security rules are inhibiting technology innovation and create difficulties in negotiating contracts due to business associate requirements.

In July 2014, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittees on Communications, Technology, and Health held a joint hearing on issues of health care and technology in the 21st century.  A press release regarding the hearing is available here: http://energycommerce.house.gov/press-release/subcommittees-team-learn-how-21st-century-technology-can-improve-21st-century-cures . In short, some industry leaders and congressional leaders agreed that regulation of health care technology needs to be “modernized”.   There is anticipation among Congressional watchers that legislation will be introduced in 2015 regarding HIPAA and security rules.  Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Representative Fred Upton, a Republican from Michigan, stated that, “From electronic health records to cloud storage of genome research and apps that identify preventive health strategies, we are looking at the future of medicine.  We have the opportunity to not only enable new cures, but accelerate the pace at which they are realized. By taking full advantage of available technology, the possibilities for the future of health care gives us hope.”

This push for “modernization” by technology companies follows the Office of Civil Rights 2014 report to Congress that unauthorized access to PHI continues to be a problem and in the wake of the largest HIPAA settlement to date, which was announced in May.

 

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