Tag Archives: privacy

Apps for substance use disorders, other conditions, may not be as private as we think

About Karen Blum

Karen Blum is AHCJ’s core topic leader on health IT. An independent journalist in the Baltimore area, she has written health IT stories for publications such as Pharmacy Practice News, Clinical Oncology News, Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News, General Surgery News and Infectious Disease Special Edition.

Sara Morrison

Sara Morrison

About one in five Americans report using mobile health applications (apps), according to survey data published by Gallup in 2019. But users may not necessarily be aware that the personal information they enter in those apps frequently is shared with third-party vendors that make some of those apps’ features.

In a recent article for Vox’s Recode, tech reporter Sara Morrison took a deep dive into data privacy — or a potential lack thereof — among mobile apps for substance use disorders, with implications for all health apps. She also covered the outdated laws that allow developers to share users’ information, often without full disclosure. Continue reading

Can a HIPAA-enabled Amazon Alexa help patients at home?

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health, science and medicine for AFP, the Bay Area News Group, Modern Healthcare, Wired, Scientific American online and many other news outlets.

Amazon’s recent announcement that its cloud-based voice service Alexa can support health care entities that are subject to the HIPAA federal patient privacy law offers some interesting story ideas for reporters.

The Alexa Healthcare Skills Kit program is invite-only. So far Amazon announced the launch of six Alexa skills built by health care entities, including Boston Children’s Hospital, Livongo, Providence Health and Services and Cigna. (You can see the full list of players and their projects at this Amazon blog post.) Continue reading

Pediatricians raise ethical concerns about who can see teen clinical notes online

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health, science and medicine for AFP, the Bay Area News Group, Modern Healthcare, Wired, Scientific American online and many other news outlets.

Today, more than 21 million patients in 47 states have online access to their physician’s notes documenting their medical visits.

While this online access is broadly seen as a positive step towards better communication between patients and doctors, some pediatricians are raising ethical concerns around teen privacy. Continue reading

Reporter shares tips on how to get good data despite privacy laws

About Felice J. Freyer

Felice J. Freyer is AHCJ's vice president and chair of the organization's Right to Know Committee. She is a health care reporter for The Boston Globe.

Annie Waldman

Privacy laws, such as HIPAA, are the bane of health journalism. No matter how fervently you wish to preserve patient privacy, the legal protections often stand between you and a great story.

Unless you know the ways around them.

ProPublica’s Annie Waldman is an expert in overcoming or sidestepping privacy barriers. Continue reading

New tip sheet outlines what reporters should ask about security risks of medical devices

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health, science and medicine for AFP, the Bay Area News Group, Modern Healthcare, Wired, Scientific American online and many other news outlets.

Photo: Dennis Skley via Flickr

The global ransomware attack involving WannaCry earlier this month exposed the vulnerabilities of computer systems worldwide.

But there’s one area even more at risk: medical devices. And that risk is growing, experts warn.

In a new AHCJ tip sheet, I describe how medical device security has become a growing concern and why journalists should pay attention. Continue reading