AMA Adopts Ethical Guidelines For Telemedicine

Forbes, 13 June 2016
Author: Bruce Japsen
“After two years of debate, the American Medical Association adopted a set of ethical guidelines it hopes physicians and the telemedicine industry will use to ensure safe and effective digital doctor-patient interactions.”
Find article here.

Did Google’s NHS patient data deal need ethical approval?

New Scientist, 25 May 2016
Author: Hal Hodson
“Google’s artificial intelligence company DeepMind has access to the identifiable personal medical information of millions of UK patients through a data-sharing agreement with the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. Later, DeepMind deployed a medical app called Streams for monitoring kidney conditions without first contacting the relevant regulatory authority. DeepMind’s partnership with the Royal Free provides it with fully identifiable information – including names, addresses and details of medical conditions – for the 1.6 million patients treated at Barnet, Chase Farm and the Royal Free each year. It also includes complete data on all patients treated by the trust in the past five years.”
Find article here.

Telstra wins contract to manage your health records

SMH, 26 May 2016
Author: Mark Kenny
“The Australian government is pushing ahead with plans to place sensitive medical records under corporate management and will announce on Thursday that Telstra Health – a division of Telstra – has been awarded the contract to manage a new national cancer screening register from next year. The contract signals an end to a series of smaller registries managed on a not-for-profit basis. The novel foray into medical information management by the telecommunications giant could be unpopular with patients raising concerns about privacy and security, and even raising questions over the extent of legal protection under Australian law if data is stored or transmitted offshore.”
Find article here.

The growing pains of mobile health

TechCrunch, 19 May 2016
Author: Mylea Charvat
“The mobile healthtech industry is exploding. There is an estimated $42 billion annual market for personalized medicine and a mad dash to come up with the “next big thing” to take advantage of the deep pockets. Plenty of companies have rushed to market — claiming to screen for cancer or decrease depression, only to be proven wrong or inconsistent — using unverified methods or a loophole to make claims that the technology can’t back up. The FDA recently announced a partnership with the FTC to begin regulating mobile healthcare applications.”
Find article here.

Health Data Is A Public Good, But How Do We Make It A Utility For Consumers?

Forbes, 19 May 2016
Author: David Vivero
“Patient privacy is still an important issue, but it’s becoming overshadowed by an even bigger problem for consumers: patient access. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) have gone to great lengths to open up access to roughly 2,100 patient de-identified datasets so that researchers, consumer advocates and others in the industry can more easily tap into the increasing wealth of health data. However, health data is notoriously complex, siloed and lacking context, so there are varied opinions about when and how to make the data available for use in consumer applications.”
Find article here.

Computer error may have led to incorrect prescribing of statins to thousands of patients

BMJ 2016;353:i2742
Author: Gareth Iacobucci
“Thousands of patients in England may have been incorrectly prescribed or taken off statins because of a major IT glitch. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has launched an investigation after a fault was discovered with the digital QRISK2 calculator in SystmOne, run by TPP, which assesses cardiovascular risk. The MHRA said that a third of GP surgeries in England may have been affected…”
Find extract here.

Healthcare Portals, Patient Photos Pose Possible Data Security Gaps

Information Management, 19 April 2016
Author: Joseph Goedert
“As the healthcare industry continues to confront cybersecurity threats and seek ways to improve defenses, it must consider every avenue that might lead to access to patient information. Some potential gaps are not as obvious. For example, there is a potential security gap within the patient portals that providers are offering to patients. Another security worry is the lack of attention to securing digital photos of patients taken in a hospitals.”
Find article here.

Sexting for your health: patients send genitalia photos, raising legal concerns

The Guardian, 8 April 2016
Author: Amanda Holpuch
“It is uncharted, legally treacherous territory for clinicians, and the leading American medical organizations have not yet issued guidance on what to do with pictures of patients’ genitalia shared over mobile phones. Medical ethicists expressed concern about the practice, because of the risk it could pose for doctors who treat people under the age of 18, arguing that because it is a form of telemedicine, it should only be practiced on a secure network, where it is protected under the federal health privacy information act, Hipaa. Concerns were also raised about the severe legal consequences that could arise for doctors, if the images could be construed as child abuse images.”
Find article here.

Hackers demand ransom to release encrypted US medical records

BMJ 2016;353:i1876
Author: Owen Dyer
“Hackers have shut down the computers of MedStar, the principal healthcare provider in Washington, DC, and surrounding areas, and are warning that millions of medical records will be lost forever 10 days hence if the healthcare group does not pay a ransom of 45 bitcoins, roughly $19?000 (£13?000; €16?500). It is the third attack by “ransomware” hackers on US hospitals in recent weeks, and the highly vulnerable industry, known for poor computer security, fears that it could signal a new trend.”
Find extract here.