Convincing Boards To Make Cybersecurity A Priority
Due to sensitive and valuable data gathered by healthcare providers, medical organization are among the most likely and vulnerable targets for cybercrime. Even after over 15 million patient records were breached in 2018 alone, many healthcare organizations fail to truly prioritize cybersecurity.
A recent report released by Deloitte Insights examined key strategies to improve cybersecurity communications to boards and those in leadership roles. The report outlines 7 steps including using metrics to quantify risks, elevating the discussion in dollar terms, regularly assessing future talent models and more. The report noted that coming oversight changes will likely cause cybersecurity proficiency to serve as an increased factor in overall industry competitiveness– citing a new bill introduced by a member of the House Intelligence Committee which would require public companies to tell investor whether any of its board members have cybersecurity expertise. The report provides extensive and in-depth strategies to move cybersecurity discussions forward.
Senate Privacy Bill Seeks to Set Federal Standard for Health Apps
A new bill has been introduced that would create new privacy regulations to protect consumer health data collected through health tracking apps, fitness wearables, and direct-to-consumer DNA testing kits. Introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the proposed bill would set a new federal standard for biometric consent. In a statement Senator Klobuchar explained: “New technologies have made it easier for people to monitor their own health, but health tracking apps and home DNA testing kits have also given companies access to personal, private data with limited oversight. This legislation will protect consumers’ personal health data by requiring that regulations be issued by the federal agencies that have the expertise to keep up with advances in technology.” If approved and passed into law, the legislation would require a new national task force to evaluate cybersecurity risks and privacy concerns associated with consumer products that use personal health data. Additionally, it would enable consumers the ability to navigate personal health data privacy options, including the ability to delete personal health data collected by companies.
House Votes To Life Ban on Funding for Unique Patient Identifier
The House of Representatives in Washington D.C. voted 246-178 in favor of lifting a ban on using federal funding to create unique patient identifiers. While HIPAA required the creation of a unique health identifier in 1998, Congress overruled the legislation banning federal agencies from investigating or creating patient identifiers out of privacy concerns. In a released statement, the CEO of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), Wylecia Wiggs Ph.D. noted: “Accurately identifying patients and matching them to their data is essential to patient safety and care coordination, and it’s a requirement for health system transformation and the continuation of our progress toward enhancing nationwide interoperability.” The bill will now move on towards the Senate for further approval.
Major Medical Center Extends Telemedicine Networks to China
New York-based cancer center, Memorial Sloan Kettering has partnered with MORE Health to provide specialists with a connected care platform for consults and second opinions from specialists in China. In a press release, Bob T. Li, an oncologist at Kettering and the hospital’s Physician Ambassador to the Asia Pacific stated: ” “It […] provides a valuable platform for dialogue between MSK and Chinese physicians, to collaboratively improve the care of patients with cancer in China.” The partnership marks the continued trend towards telehealth collaborations between multi-health systems in search of expanding the reach of specialisits.
Dr. Soon-Shiong Steps Down from ONC Health IT Advisory Committee
Biotech billionaire and CEO Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong has announced that he will be stepping down from the federal Health IT Advisory Committee (HITAC) which provides policy recommendations to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.. The physician-entrepreneur is often a controversial figure in the biotechnology industry, having been the subject of several media and state investigations as well as lawsuits regarding the effectiveness of his cancer therapies. In a released statement, Soon-Shiong explained: “It was really very difficult for me to attend the many meetings and I just felt very guilty that I was not contributing as much as I could and I thought this slot could be used better by somebody who had more time.”