BACKGROUND IMAGE: iSTOCK/GETTY IMAGES
As wearable health technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) explode into healthcare, federal regulators have been tracking these new applications for medical devices, especially in regard to safety and cybersecurity.
Meanwhile, even as healthcare providers are increasingly mindful of the privacy and security dictates of HIPAA, it remains unclear in the health IT world how much, if at all, HIPAA applies to data generated by wellness devices.
In this podcast by the SearchHealthIT HIT Squad, reporters Shaun Sutner and Kristen Lee tackled these issues and others by talking with experts.
Sutner talked about his conversation with an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) medical device expert who thinks the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a tough job balancing medical device and mobile health app safety and innovation. But the UL expert thinks the FDA is adequately handling cybersecurity for IoT healthcare concerns.
As for HIPAA and wearable health technology, most wellness data is not covered by HIPAA, Lee discovered by talking with a lawyer versed in privacy issues. For example, individuals' heart rates or step counts likely are not protected by privacy laws, but personally identifiable information contained by EHRs is.
Meanwhile, the hard-fought battle for EHR supremacy between Epic Systems Corp. and Cerner Corp. rages on, Sutner explained. He talked about a SearchHealthIT infographic based on recently updated CMS meaningful use attestation data that showed Epic and Cerner can each claim to be the No. 1 EHR vendor in various states, with Epic up 22 states to Cerner's 15.
The HIT Squad also addressed the benefits and security vulnerabilities inherent in using big data in health IT, based on Lee's interview with the CIO at Baystate Health in Springfield, Mass.
Physicians discuss wearable health technology, mobile apps with patients
Cybercriminals have reasons to steal medical information
HIPAA audits to extend to business associates