OK

This is only a Preview!

You must Publish this diary to make this visible to the public,
or click 'Edit Diary' to make further changes first.

Posting a Diary Entry

Daily Kos welcomes blog articles from readers, known as diaries. The Intro section to a diary should be about three paragraphs long, and is required. The body section is optional, as is the poll, which can have 1 to 15 choices. Descriptive tags are also required to help others find your diary by subject; please don't use "cute" tags.

When you're ready, scroll down below the tags and click Save & Preview. You can edit your diary after it's published by clicking Edit Diary. Polls cannot be edited once they are published.

If this is your first time creating a Diary since the Ajax upgrade, before you enter any text below, please press Ctrl-F5 and then hold down the Shift Key and press your browser's Reload button to refresh its cache with the new script files.

ATTENTION: READ THE RULES.

  1. One diary daily maximum.
  2. Substantive diaries only. If you don't have at least three solid, original paragraphs, you should probably post a comment in an Open Thread.
  3. No repetitive diaries. Take a moment to ensure your topic hasn't been blogged (you can search for Stories and Diaries that already cover this topic), though fresh original analysis is always welcome.
  4. Use the "Body" textbox if your diary entry is longer than three paragraphs.
  5. Any images in your posts must be hosted by an approved image hosting service (one of: imageshack.us, photobucket.com, flickr.com, smugmug.com, allyoucanupload.com, picturetrail.com, mac.com, webshots.com, editgrid.com).
  6. Copying and pasting entire copyrighted works is prohibited. If you do quote something, keep it brief, always provide a link to the original source, and use the <blockquote> tags to clearly identify the quoted material. Violating this rule is grounds for immediate banning.
  7. Be civil. Do not "call out" other users by name in diary titles. Do not use profanity in diary titles. Don't write diaries whose main purpose is to deliberately inflame.
For the complete list of DailyKos diary guidelines, please click here.

Please begin with an informative title:

In many ways, technology has been a godsend for healthcare and medicine. There are long lists of the ways that technology has helped to advance medicine and healthcare, improving practices from record keeping to surgery. It is not, however, without its drawbacks—especially where patient privacy is concerned.

It was only a few years ago that we all thought that some simple encryption codes put on a Mac were all that were needed. Encryption would stump the hackers. Macs couldn’t get viruses. Done!

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case anymore and not just because hackers invented viruses that can get into Macs (if you haven’t set up any basic security, look into an antivirus for Mac download).

The Convenience Factor

The primary problem isn’t worrying about viruses or ransom ware, it’s privacy. Apps like MyChart and their competitors are great in terms of patient convenience but they can pose a serious threat to HIPAA and the laws that surround it (and there are many).

Patients aren’t the only ones who are clamoring for easier access to their medical records and histories. In March, we published an article that talked about how a “universal” medical record community or cloud could help reduce hospital admissions exponentially. The system would also help doctors and other rapid responders (like EMTs) in emergency situations. New York doctors are putting the idea into practice with many doctors and clinics opting in to the system (with patient permission, of course).

Casual Privacy Issues

Complicating matters further are wearable fitness and health technology devices. More and more people are hopping on to the Fitbit (and its knockoffs’) bandwagon. This matters because the Fitbit doesn’t just store information about how many steps you take each day. It stores information like sleeping patterns, pulse records, etc.

Earlier this year, Apple made waves when it announced that their new mobile OS will include a health monitoring and data sharing platform. The new platform would be able to store information like blood sugar and cholesterol levels, heart rate, etc. That information could then be accessed by health professionals who could use it to help with diagnoses or the development of treatment plans.

If it stopped there, it might be okay—patients being able to record their vitals during their daily routines would be incredibly helpful for doctors. The problem is that these platforms and devices can also share information with other apps and platforms and not all of those are going to be as heavily regulated as the medical and medical technology industries.

The FDA Stepping Back

The most problematic development is not with medical and health related tech and it is not with the different devices or the software that run them. It is with their regulation or, rather, the lack thereof.

According to iHealthBeat, the FDA has no plans to regulate medical device data systems—they think those devices are perfectly safe and secure. What’s more, they seem to think that imposing restrictions or regulations on these devices will hinder their ability to share information with other devices—the very issues that the patient privacy advocates have been worried about.

The FDA ruling does not negate any of the HIPAA regulations that are in place. It does, however, put the burden of compliance on to the doctor or clinic instead of on the device manufacturer. We can only hope that after going a little bit crazy with all of their new freedoms that most manufacturers and health tech developers will realize that it is better to work within HIPAA and other privacy regulations during device development. After all, if they don’t, how can they expect to sell any of their devices?

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Extended (Optional)

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.