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David Harlow: Understanding Data Privacy Concerns


Data privacy practices need to be updated regularly, he said.

It appears as if now more than ever, health systems, patients and consumers alike are focused on health data privacy. With recent news of Facebook reaching a $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for data privacy lapses, it’s clear that even the biggest companies have real security concerns.

While proposed bipartisan legislation aims to protect personal health data, health systems still need to do their best to ensure that patients’ data remain safe.

David Harlow, J.D., MPH, is a healthcare attorney and blogger for HealthBlawg. At Expo.Health in Boston, he told Inside Digital Health™ that there is great concern about how people are treating and caring for data.

“Data really needs to be protected and that is often an issue that is not addressed sufficiently by healthcare providers, by technology vendors and other folks in the ecosystem,” Harlow said.

When it comes to protecting data, Harlow said that it’s not a “set it and forget it” kind of thing, but something that needs constant updating. This ensures that the health system is doing its best in terms of data privacy and security, he added.

Having a well-documented system could make things better for a health system and can keep it from suffering debilitating fines and penalties from the government, Harlow suggested. It’s important to do this to show that the health system was doing best practices all along and just got hacked or had a breach anyway.

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