Legislation that would amend California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (“CMIA”) is working its way through California’s Senate and passed in the Senate Health Committee earlier this week. The proposed bill passed in the state’s Assembly back in April. Introduced by Democratic California Assemblymember Edwin Chau, who sits on the Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee, the proposed legislation (AB 1436) expands the definition of “provider of health care.” Under the CMIA, providers of health care are subject to various obligations, including provisions that restrict the disclosure of medical information without a prior valid authorization, subject to certain exceptions. Continue Reading Proposed Bill Would Expand the Scope of the CMIA
In April 2021, the European Commission released its proposed Regulation Laying Down Harmonized Rules on Artificial Intelligence (the “Regulation”), which would establish rules on the development, placing on the market, and use of artificial intelligence systems (“AI systems”) across the EU. The proposal, comprising 85 articles and nine annexes, is part of a wider package of Commission initiatives aimed at positioning the EU as a world leader in trustworthy and ethical AI and technological innovation.
The Commission’s objectives with the Regulation are twofold: to promote the development of AI technologies and harness their potential benefits, while also protecting individuals against potential threats to their health, safety, and fundamental rights posed by AI systems. To that end, the Commission proposal focuses primarily on AI systems identified as “high-risk,” but also prohibits three AI practices and imposes transparency obligations on providers of certain non-high-risk AI systems as well. Notably, it would impose significant administrative costs on high-risk AI systems of around 10 percent of the underlying value, based on compliance, oversight, and verification costs. This blog highlights several key aspects of the proposal. Continue Reading European Commission Proposes New Artificial Intelligence Regulation
On May 3, 2021, the European Commission (the “Commission”) opened a further public consultation (“Consultation”) on the European Health Data Space (“EHDS”).
This follows a consultation earlier in the year, on the Commission’s “Inception Impact Assessment” in relation to the EHDS. (For further information on the earlier consultation and an overview of the EHDS, please see our blog post available here).
On February 9, 2021, the UK Government’s Department for Health and Social Care (“DHSC”) announced a review into the efficient and safe use of health data for research and analysis for the benefit of patients in the health sector (“Review”). The DHSC encourages stakeholder feedback in the context of the Review, and will be of particular interest to organisations that have, or seek to have, access to NHS patient data for research purposes.
The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced this month a proposed settlement against Flo Health, Inc. (“Flo”), the developer of popular menstrual cycle and fertility-tracking application (the “Flo App”), resolving allegations that “the company shared the health information of users with outside data analytics providers after promising that such information would be kept private.” The proposed settlement requires Flo, among other things, to obtain review by an “independent third-party professional” of its privacy practices, obtain users’ consent before sharing their health information, alert users whose data was disclosed, and require third-parties that previously received that data to destroy it. Continue Reading FTC Reaches Settlement with Digital Health App, Requires First Notice of Privacy Action
On January 14, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated a $4.3 million civil monetary penalty that the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) of the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) imposed against the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (“M.D. Anderson”). OCR ordered the penalty in 2017 following an investigation into three data breaches suffered by M.D. Anderson in 2012 and 2013, finding that M.D. Anderson had violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) and the Health Information and Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (“HITECH Act”). The Court, however, held that the penalty was “arbitrary, capricious, and otherwise unlawful,” in part based on its interpretation of the HIPAA Rules. Continue Reading M.D. Anderson Wins Appeal Over $4.3 Million HIPAA Penalty
On January 6, 2021, the UK’s AI Council (an independent government advisory body) published its AI Roadmap (“Roadmap”). In addition to calling for a Public Interest Data Bill to ‘protect against automation and collective harms’, the Roadmap acknowledges the need to counteract public suspicion of AI and makes 16 recommendations, based on three main pillars, to guide the UK Government’s AI strategy.
On January 5, 2021, an amendment to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (“HITECH”) Act was signed into law. The amendment requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) to “consider certain recognized security practices of covered entities and business associates when making certain determinations” regarding fines, audit results, or other remedies for resolving potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”). For organizations subject to HIPAA, the amendment provides substantial incentives to establish or improve their cybersecurity programs. While it does not establish a complete safe harbor from HIPAA enforcement, the amendment does offer organizations a chance to mitigate financial penalties and other negative regulatory actions that may result from a data breach. Continue Reading HITECH Amendment Provides Some Protection For Covered Entities and Business Associates that Adopt Recognized Security Standards
On December 23, 2020, the European Commission (the “Commission”) published its inception impact assessment (“Inception Impact Assessment”) of policy options for establishing a European Health Data Space (“EHDS”). The Inception Impact Assessment is open for consultation until February 3, 2021, encouraging “citizens and stakeholders” to “provide views on the Commission’s understanding of the current situation, problem and possible solutions”.
On 18 January 2021, the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (“POST”)* published its AI and Healthcare Research Briefing about the use of artificial intelligence (“AI”) in the UK healthcare system (the “Briefing”). The Briefing considers the potential impacts of AI on the cost and quality of healthcare, and the challenges posed by the wider adoption of AI, including safety, privacy and health inequalities.
The Briefing summarises the different possible applications of AI in healthcare settings, which raises unique considerations for healthcare providers. It notes that AI, developed through machine learning algorithms, is not yet widely used within the NHS, but some AI products are at various stages of trial and evaluation. The areas of healthcare identified by the Briefing as having the potential for AI to be incorporated include (among others): interpretation of medical imaging, planning patients’ treatment, and patient-facing applications such as voice assistants, smartphone apps and wearable devices.