Understanding Health and Medical Privacy


Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has recently updated and expanded our consumer guides on health privacy.  We are excited to release our updated HIPAA Health Privacy Fact Sheets.   Visit our Medical Privacy page to find additional resources on health-related privacy issues.  As always, please feel free to contact us with your privacy questions and complaints

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Releases Study: Mobile Health and Fitness Apps: What Are the Privacy Risks?


Many individuals use mobile apps to monitor their health, learn about specific medical conditions, and help them achieve personal fitness goals.  Apps in the “wellness” space include those that support diet and exercise programs; pregnancy trackers; behavioral and mental health coaches; symptom checkers that can link users to local health services; sleep and relaxation aids; and personal disease or chronic condition managers.   

After studying 43 popular health and fitness apps (both free and paid) from both a consumer and technical perspective, it is clear that there are considerable privacy risks for users – and that the privacy policies for those apps that have policies do not describe those risks. However, these apps appeal to a wide range of consumers because they can be beneficial, convenient, and are often free to use. 

Take Control of Your Medical Information: Personal Health Records and Your Privacy


If you established care with a medical office tomorrow, would you be able to give your new doctor a complete copy of your medical records, lab tests and a list of your prescription drugs? If you're like most Americans, your health information is split among your various health care providers. For example, you may have records at a hospital, a physician's office, your dentist, a pharmacy, and an optician's dispensary. 

Since each health care provider maintains its own file on you, it can be challenging to get control of your medical records. However, HIPAA's right to access coupled with the emerging market for the Personal Health Record (PHR) is changing that.

PRC Launches California Medical Privacy Microsite


What are your rights to medical privacy? As it turns out, that is not a simple question to answer. Chances are, you've heard of HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It is a federal law that sets a national baseline standard for the privacy of individually identifiable health information.

But HIPAA only applies to health care providers that conduct certain transactions electronically, health plans, and health care clearinghouses. A great deal of personal medical information exists that is not maintained by HIPAA “covered entities.” An example would be personal medical information provided voluntarily when one participates in an online chat forum for individuals with a specific ailment.

Fortunately for individuals who live in California, state law provides additional medical privacy protections. The PRC has launched a microsite dedicated solely to medical privacy in California.

Comments to California Dept. of Public Health: Medical Information Breach Regulations


Consumers enter a hospital or another care facility in California should not have to worry that their health and financial data might end up on a social networking website, in the tabloids, in a dumpster, or in the hands of an identity thief. Yet, instances of the breach of healthcare data in California continue at an alarming pace.

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