September 29, 2022

New Bill Would Update HIPAA to Address New Technology

The Health and fitness Info Use and Privateness Fee Act, introduced earlier this month in the Senate, would generate a commission to study how HIPAA can be up-to-date to take into account new technologies, which includes digital overall health and telemedicine.

A bill introduced earlier this thirty day period in Congress would update the Wellness Insurance policy Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to account for new technologies.

The Well being Knowledge Use and Privacy Commission Act, sponsored by US Senators Monthly bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), would cerate a new well being and privateness commission to suggest Congress on “how to modernize the use of wellbeing details and privacy legal guidelines to ensure individual privacy and have confidence in while balancing the have to have of medical doctors to have data at their fingertips to give treatment.”

The proposed laws normally takes aim at a 25-12 months-previous regulation that was instrumental in developing guidelines for the dissemination of private wellbeing details, but has due to the fact occur below attack for getting outdated. The proliferation of online means, telemedicine and digital health platforms has offered health care corporations new avenues for accessing, gathering and examining information and facts – and opened the door to new approaches that this sort of knowledge can be misused.

“As a physician, the possible of new engineering to improve affected individual care would seem limitless. But People will have to be capable to have confidence in that their individual health and fitness information is shielded if this technologies can meet up with its whole probable,” Cassidy mentioned in a Feb. 9 push release. “HIPAA should be current for the present day working day. This laws commences this course of action on a pathway to make sure it is finished proper.”

The commission would consist of 17 users, to be appointed by the Comptroller Common, and would report back to Congress and the President six months immediately after all associates are appointed. That report would offer you tips on:

  • The probable threats posed to particular person health and fitness privacy and respectable organization and plan passions
  • The functions for which sharing wellbeing data is suitable and useful to customers and the risk to well being outcomes and prices if privacy principles are as well stringent
  • The efficiency of present statutes, polices, personal sector self-regulatory initiatives, know-how developments, and current market forces in protecting particular person health and fitness privacy
  • Tips on whether or not federal laws is needed, and if so, particular suggestions on proposals to reform, streamline, harmonize, unify, or increase latest guidelines and rules relating to personal health privacy, together with reforms or additions to existing legislation linked to enforcement, preemption, consent, penalties for misuse, transparency, and observe of privateness practices
  • An evaluation of no matter whether added rules might impose expenses or burdens, or result in unintended repercussions in other plan locations, these types of as safety, legislation enforcement, health-related analysis, health and fitness treatment cost containment, improved client results, community health and fitness or important infrastructure defense, and no matter if these kinds of expenditures or burdens are justified by the more rules or positive aspects to privateness, like no matter whether this kind of rewards may possibly be realized by means of significantly less onerous implies
  • The expense examination of legislative or regulatory variations proposed in the report
  • Recommendations on non-legislative alternatives to specific health and fitness privacy concerns, such as schooling, marketplace-primarily based actions, marketplace ideal methods, and new systems and
  • A review of the performance and utility of third-celebration statements of privateness principles and non-public sector self-regulatory initiatives, as very well as third-party certification or accreditation programs intended to ensure compliance with privacy prerequisites.

The bill is supported by a amount of businesses, like the American University of Cardiology, Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, Affiliation of Medical Investigation Organizations, Executives for Wellbeing Innovation, Federation of American Hospitals, Heath Innovation Alliance, Nationwide Numerous Sclerosis Society and United Spinal Association. Also supporting the monthly bill are Teladoc, Epic, IBM and athenahealth.

In a blog site posted this 7 days, Sydney Swanson, an affiliate with the Morgan Lewis law firm, and W. Reece Hirsch, a husband or wife with the business, claimed HIPAA doesn’t control electronic wellness organizations that accumulate information from individuals or reference new technologies like mHealth apps and wearables. The invoice, they said, “seeks to near the hole among present protections and risk to individual health and fitness info (PHI) established by new health care engineering that extends over and above the scope of HIPAA.”

“Recommendations based mostly on the earlier mentioned experiments could entail updates to HIPAA to go over a broader array of entities employing PHI or new federal laws covering wellness knowledge, as the fee would be instructed to evaluate ‘any gaps in the privateness protections [under HIPAA] resulting from facts selection and use by non-coated entities,’” they wrote.  “Any such legislation may change the Federal Trade Commission’s existing authority to control quite a few direct-to-shopper electronic health goods that are not matter to HIPAA pursuant to Section 5 of the FTC Act.”

“Proposed laws stemming from the studies could be centered on state law, these types of as the California Client Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), as the fee would be instructed to assess related proposed condition laws and present condition legislation,” Swanson and Hirsch included. “New legislation may also be inspired by General Facts Security Regulation (GDPR), as the commission would be instructed to appraise privateness protections undertaken by overseas governments and global governing bodies.”

Eric Wicklund is the Technology Editor for HealthLeaders.