Is Ransomware Considered A Health Data Breach Under HIPAA?

Forbes, 29 March 2016
Author: Dan Munro
“While it’s tempting to think of ransomware as a new cyber threat, the history of digital extortion dates back to the 1980’s and one of the first examples of ransomware was the PC Cyborg Trojan. Like modern ransomware, the Cyborg Trojan (a.k.a. Aids Info Disk) first encrypted files and then demanded payment (to a PO Box in Panama) in the more friendly terminology of a software “license renewal.”
Find article here.

Online symptom checkers far from accurate

CBC, 8 July 2015
Source: CBC News
“Online symptom checkers and apps only provided the correct diagnosis about a third of the time, but could still be worthwhile compared to Dr. Google, a new study suggests. Unlike internet search engines that can lead users to confusing and unsubstantiated information, symptom checkers hosted by medical schools such as Harvard, hospitals such as the Mayo Clinic and government agencies such as the U.K.’s National Health Service are more sophisticated. People are asked to list their symptoms and then a computerized algorithm suggests whether to seek medical care immediately, like for a heart attack or stroke, visit a doctor in the next few days or just rest at home.”
Find article here.

Hospitals and GPs to start providing free Wi-Fi

The Guardian, 17 June 2015
Author: Denis Campbell
“Every hospital and GP surgery in England is likely to start providing free Wi-Fi in a move by the NHS to keep patients entertained and help doctors and nurses use much more technology in their work. Senior figures there believe it could revolutionise NHS services, with staff then able to use many more devices, such as skin sensors and other “wearable” devices, to remotely monitor the health of people with long-term conditions such as asthma and diabetes.”
Find article here.

New Study Links Facebook To Depression: But Now We Actually Understand Why

Forbes, 8 April 2015
Author: Alice G. Walton
“The irony of Facebook is by now known to most. The “social” network has been linked to a surprising number of undesirable mental health consequences: Depression, low self-esteem, and bitter jealousy among them. Now, a new study in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology finds that not only do Facebook and depressive symptoms go hand-in-hand, but the mediating factor seems to be a well-established psychological phenomenon: “Social comparison.”
Find article here.

Buying human breast milk online poses serious health risk, say experts

The Guardian, 25 March 2015
Author: Matthew Weaver
“A growing market in online sales of often contaminated human breast milk – fuelled in part by bodybuilders and adults with a baby fetish – poses a serious risk to public health, according to experts. Researchers from the University of London’s school of medicine and dentistry were so alarmed by their initial findings that they wrote an editorial in the British Medical Journal to warn of the dangers of buying breast milk online before their study was completed. The editorial says breast milk sold online should be screened for diseases such as hepatitis, HIV and syphilis.”
Find article here.

Cancer patients want more info about CT risks

Reuters, 24 March 2015
Author: Kathryn Doyle
“Some cancer patients would like more information on the health risks of their radiology tests, a new study found. Most of the 30 patients questioned for the study said they looked online for information about the radiation hazards of tests like computed tomography (CT) scans, since their doctors did not explain the risks.”
Find article here.

“Apps” that harm patients will be hunted down, says regulator

BMJ 2015;350:h1579
Author: Matthew Limb
“A UK health regulator has issued a warning to makers of mobile medical “apps” that may harm patients. Neil McGuire, clinical director of devices at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said, “Be under no illusion—if you have a medical device and it’s software or an app and patients come to grief, we’re coming looking.”
Find extract here.

Is It Fair to Ask the Internet to Pay Your Hospital Bill?

The Atlantic, 12 March 2015
Author: Cari Romm
“Sites like YouCaring, GoFundMe, and Indiegogo Life cumulatively host thousands of pages set up by people looking for help with medical expenses, from cancer treatment to in-vitro fertilization (IVF). These crowdfunding pages are a place for family and friends to help out and receive updates on the status of a loved one’s health—but they’re also a place where strangers can log on and make a donation to someone they’ve never met before.”
Find article here.