How Much Control Do You Actually Have Over Your Private Data?

Library of Congress

“Privacy” is the buzz of our era, but… what even is privacy? Different consumers, businesses, and regulators each have their own definitions and perspectives on the issue, while the law, too, is always evolving. [More]

Misfit Photographer

Government Just Sends Letters To Providers Accused Of HIPAA Violations, Doesn’t Tell Public

The federal government is not as rich and all-powerful as we sometimes think: while the Office for Civil Rights of the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has the responsibility of dealing with possible violations of patients’ privacy by medical care providers, it doesn’t have tee budget to post the warning letters that it sends after a single breach online. Is that useful information that the government should know about? Experts say that it is. [More]

Fujoshi Bijou

Some Health Providers Are Sharing Patients’ Info Online In Reaction To Bad Yelp Reviews

Now that we live in a world where it seems everything can be rated — from your restaurant experience to your root canal — privacy issues are popping up in unexpected places. Like in health care providers’ responses to negative reviews from patients on Yelp, for example.

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(frankieleon)

Medical Data Privacy Laws Don’t Actually Cover Apps, Wearables, And Other Consumer Stuff

The future’s really cool sometimes: We get to use all sorts of new technology tools and cloud-based services to help us manage our health. That constellation of apps, trackers, tests, and gadgets gives huge insight into our health and bodies, which is useful to millions… but it also lets a stunning amount of the most personal data out into the wild, unregulated and uncontrolled.

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(George)

Conflicts In Patient Privacy Laws Often Leave Student Health Records Vulnerable

When a college student seeks medical treatment at a campus healthcare facility, they probably expect they will be afforded the same discretion as all consumer are under HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). But thanks to a separate, often conflicting federal law, that isn’t always the case. [More]

Why Does CVS Need A HIPAA Waiver To Count How Many Prescriptions You Fill?

Why Does CVS Need A HIPAA Waiver To Count How Many Prescriptions You Fill?

If you don’t mind trading your shopping history and personal data for free stuff or discounts, loyalty card programs offer some great benefits if you were going to be loyal to a business in the first place. The question is, how much of your privacy are you willing to give up for some discounts? [More]

(CBS Sacramento)

Hospital Sends Lab Test Results For 10 Patients To Random Stranger

Even in this era of over-sharing and supposed transparency, most people don’t want their medical files shared with anyone who doesn’t absolutely need to see them. But all it takes is one person to not pay attention when stuffing envelopes for private medical documents to be shared with the world. [More]

Hospital CEO Thinks It's Perfectly OK To Show Patient's Records To Newspaper

Hospital CEO Thinks It's Perfectly OK To Show Patient's Records To Newspaper

Last January, a woman in California says she was billed by a hospital for a treatment she never received. She took her complaint to the folks at California Watch, who published a story about her predicament. But when a local newspaper went to verify the information, the hospital’s CEO had absolutely no problem showing up at the reporter’s door to rifle through that patient’s file without her permission.

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Target Won't Take Sealed, Unused Blood Glucose Meter Back

Target Won't Take Sealed, Unused Blood Glucose Meter Back

There are two important lessons that we can take away from M’s e-mail about trying to return an unopened, unused blood glucose meter to Target. First: never, ever, ever purchase a gift for someone at Target without also giving them the receipt. Consider laminating it, then stapling it to the recipient’s forehead. Second: when you receive a marketing call, think critically about who could have sold your name, or whether the entire call might be a scam.

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Getting HIPAA Certificate Of Creditable Coverage Like Pulling Tooth From Dragon's Maw

Getting HIPAA Certificate Of Creditable Coverage Like Pulling Tooth From Dragon's Maw

Sarek tells the story of how he was able finally get a “certificate of creditable coverage” from his COBRA administrators. After many moons of pleas, what it finally took was writing a physical letter to the presidents of each four companies at the same time. At the top of the letter was the address of each of the other companies so that all knew that he was showing off their unsightly bits to the other.

[More]

Your Medical Records: Ask For Them!

Your Medical Records: Ask For Them!

Hospitals can be slow to respond for health records, writes CNN, which can cause serious problems if you’re moving a patient from one facility to another. Here are steps from that article on how to make sure you get your data as quickly as possible.

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What's HIPAA All About?

What's HIPAA All About?

If someone says “HIPAA” and you think they might be talking about a herd of hippos, you got some reading to do. The “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act” protects the health insurance workers and their families when they lose their jobs, and also protects the confidentiality of patients’ records. Like all big laws, it’s a bit of a thicket to navigate, so the World Privacy Forum just published a “Patient’s Guide to HIPAA” to help chop your way through it. Check it out and bone up on your rights.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Georgia Sends 202,000 Letters Containing Personal Information To The Wrong Addresses

Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Georgia Sends 202,000 Letters Containing Personal Information To The Wrong Addresses

Well, if you’re having a bad day at work, rest assured that someone in Georgia is having a worse one. The Journal-Constitution is reporting that 202,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia customers had their personal information exposed, including (in some cases) their social security numbers, thanks to an error in the computerized mailing system. The system was apparently used before it was tested.

Leukemia Survivor Settles ID Theft Lawsuit With TransUnion; Five More Companies To Go

Leukemia Survivor Settles ID Theft Lawsuit With TransUnion; Five More Companies To Go

When Eric Drew was in the hospital being treated for leukemia five years ago, a lab technician stole his personal information and began opening up credit card accounts in his name.