Saturday, January 23, 2016
How Private is our Privacy
Privacy may not be as private as we would consider, and not much more than what we are capable of to keep private, as long as we live a cyber life. Take for instance, the wearables that caught the craze throughout 2015 and became a popular item to buy at Christmas and other items that are catching on to monitor our health and status on a daily basis. Did you know that if the data collected is leaked somehow it does not fall under the protections of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996? This provision was ‘only’ intended to protect your privacy as a patient that is stored by health providers, insurers, and related data storage partners. Any monitored health information culled, collected, and stored by anyone else is not covered.
One should wonder how private is our health information that we the consumer try to learn about to stay fit or monitor our progress and measure performance from many different forms of activity. It could get very embarrassing for some if their caloric burn performance data for a described activity was attainable by an unauthorized person from their cyber profile. Nevertheless, the security of the collected data that identifies us is precarious. We could as well include for our own concern, the privacy at stake when one seeks to learn about personal genealogy and pursues to fill out details of one’s personal life to learn a spec of someone’s past.
Our concern for privacy and the ability to maintain some level of privacy comfort is heightened when we learn that entities that store, manage, receive, and share medical records, do not have the mechanisms in place to know if a record was retrieved without authority. The amount of medical related information that we voluntarily generate and that can be accessed is alarming. What is also alarming is that the Office of Civil Rights, within the Agency for Health and Human services that is authorized to carry out the requirements under HIPAA, has only addressed a bit more than 30 percent of claims filed because the agency either lacks authority over the company the claimants filed a claim against or the claims may have been filed outside of time limits. The majority of denials fall along the former.
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