Navigating the Complexities of HIPAA and Personal Health Data Security
Nathan E Botts
/ Categories: Security

Navigating the Complexities of HIPAA and Personal Health Data Security

The importance of individual vigilance in data protection

The Wired article, "What Doctors Wish You Knew About HIPAA and Data Security," delves into the limitations and misunderstandings surrounding the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in safeguarding personal health data. It highlights that HIPAA primarily regulates healthcare entities but does not cover consumer-generated data or information shared outside traditional medical settings, such as through personal devices or social media. The piece underscores the importance of individual vigilance in data protection, emphasizing the use of multi-factor authentication and careful sharing of personal health information, especially in non-regulated platforms. This article serves as a crucial reminder of the evolving challenges in health data security and the shared responsibility between healthcare providers and individuals in protecting sensitive health information.

Key points from the article include:

Public Misunderstanding of HIPAA: Many people are unaware that HIPAA does not protect all health data. It primarily regulates entities like hospitals, medical offices, and insurance companies. Consumer-generated data, such as information shared via email or collected by home health devices and wearable trackers, is not covered under HIPAA.

Limitations of HIPAA: The article highlights that HIPAA is effective within its scope but does not apply to individuals managing their own health information. This includes data shared in non-medical settings or through personal devices.

Data Security in Healthcare: Healthcare professionals, due to the nature of their work, might use personal devices for communication, potentially risking data security. The article also touches on the challenges posed by health data portals like Epic, which, while secure, can be cumbersome and not entirely focused on patient care.

Risks Beyond Traditional Healthcare Settings: Subcontractors, third-party associates, and other entities involved in healthcare are expected to be HIPAA-compliant. However, social media and direct-to-consumer health platforms, which are increasingly used for health-related communication and services, do not fall under HIPAA regulations.

Personal Data Protection: The article emphasizes the importance of personal vigilance in protecting health data. It suggests using multi-factor authentication and being cautious about sharing personal information, especially on social media and other non-regulated platforms.

Advice for Individuals: It advises individuals to inquire about data storage and privacy policies when signing up for any health-related service, and to use secure passwords and authentication methods to protect their data.

In summary, the article sheds light on the limited scope of HIPAA in the digital age, the risks associated with non-regulated platforms, and the importance of individual responsibility in protecting personal health data.

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How to Protect Your Privacy as More Apps Harvest Your Data

A New York Times Personal Tech series article by Brian X. Chen

Retrieved By Health eConsultation 0 15090 Article rating: 5.0

In this article written by Brian X. Chen from the New York Times he discusses some of the potential ways in which mobile apps that you download to your phone may be collecting and using your personal data in ways you did not know.

One of the key takeaways is that there are ways in which to protect yourself and tools that can help you figure out which apps are collecting your data and how to remove their ability to do so.

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An article from Zapier

Nathan E Botts 0 15071 Article rating: 5.0

One consideration as you gather and store more personal health information on your computer and devices is making sure that you are not inadvertently sharing this information (or some other aspect of your personal health) through your webcam or mic.

This article from Zapier outlines several different ways and some handy applications that can help you control this on your PC or MAC.

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An article from Engadget

Nathan E Botts 0 10137 Article rating: No rating

This article from the Engadget web magazine discusses how your online searching behaviors might be monitored by different companies that you are unaware about. This data is likely used to build profiles that may impact the advertisements you see, credit ratings received, and other potential social network aspects as of yet identified. 

Cybersecurity: Crash Course Computer Science #31

Retrieved By Health eConsultation 0 14751 Article rating: No rating

Cybersecurity: Crash Course Computer Science #31Cybersecurity is a set of techniques to protect the secrecy, integrity, and availability of computer systems and data against threats. In today’s episode, we’re going to unpack these three goals and talk through some strategies we use like passwords, biometrics, and access privileges to keep our information as secure, but also as accessible as possible. From massive Denial of Service, or DDos attacks, to malware and brute force password cracking there are a lot of ways for hackers to gain access to your data, so we’ll also discuss some strategies like creating strong passwords, and using 2-factor authentication, to keep your information safe. Check out Computerphile’s wonderful video on how to choose a password! Pre-order our limited edition Crash Course: Computer Science Floppy Disk Coasters here! Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: Want to know more about Carrie Anne? The Latest from PBS Digital Studios: Want to find Crash Course elsewhere on the internet? Facebook - Twitter - Tumblr - Support Crash Course on Patreon: CC Kids:


What is Health eDefense?

Health eDefense is the act of protecting your personal health information. This not only protects your privacy, security, and safety, but also protects the data of your family, friends, and others in your community.

The Health eDefense platform is dedicated to providing consumers with actionable information on how to protect their personal health information effectively from cyber threats. Health eDefense provides informational content and education related to cyber security, privacy and consent, security, and related topics and policies such as HIPAA and GDPR.

Cyber security is impacting our daily lives, and our personal and protected health information is a target for hackers and criminals looking to make money off of our personal data. Your personal health data will always be about your health, demographics, social, lifestyle, financial history, and other related details. Once taken, they cannot be taken back.

We think the best cybersecurity tool is education and awareness, and we hope to provide users with tools and insight to protect themselves and their data better.