Daily Management Review

US to reconsider medical data security laws


Collection of medical data by Google caused a big scandal in the United States. Federal regulators have already announced start of the investigation; congressmen have criticized the company's actions and announced the need to adopt new laws to protect personal data in the field of healthcare.

Reports of the American media that Google was obtaining laboratory results, diagnoses of doctors and records of hospitalization of citizens resulted in a big scandal in the United States. Last Monday, The Wall Street Journal found out that Google collected this data, as well as complete medical history with patient names and birth dates from Ascension medical organization.

Despite Google claiming that this practice does not violate applicable law, federal regulators have begun verification.
Roger Severino, director of the Department of Civil Rights Protection in the US Department of Health, said his agency "will require more information about mass collection of medical information from individuals to make sure that all data protection department requirements are fully respected." The regulator is referring to the 1996 federal law, which generally allows medical institutions to share information with their business partners without additional notice to patients if this process is aimed only at “assisting a particular medical institution in fulfilling its immediate health care responsibilities”.

Democratic Senators Mark Warner and Richard Blumenthal, as well as Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, called on regulators to pay attention to Google’s actions. Even before the scandal, Senator Warner issued a special statement in which he expressed serious concern about possible omissions in the US Department of Health's work to protect these patients.

Senator Warner recalled that in September, the medical data of millions of Americans were publicly available, as they were stored in an unprotected archive.

In turn, Democratic senator Amy Klobuchar said that in June she and her colleagues introduced a new bill on the protection of personal data in the field of health. The bill regulates the data protection system, taking into account the existence of new technologies - fitness applications and gadgets, genetic tests and medical tests, the results of which are sent to the patient via the Internet, etc. In addition, the senator called for the creation of a special working group that will assess cyber risks in the field of protect medical personal data and will work together with specialists and human rights defenders.

source: wsj.com, cnbc.com