The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act created national regulations for the use and disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI) in healthcare treatment, payment and operations. However, the “Privacy Rule” isn’t an absolute bar.
Covered entities are required to tell law enforcement when they believe you are a danger to yourself or others. They can tell your insurance company what they owe (because we would never want to make it harder for them to collect fees…). They may be required to tell a court of law what they know, especially if damages are at issue in a case. And of course, everyone is required to disclose an individual’s medical information to the individual upon request.
What it also stipulates, is the patient’s consent OR knowledge before disclosure. So what about Target’s Pregnancy Predictor number sending out coupons for diapers before the expectant parent even tells anyone? Well, you see, when that data is collected through clicks, purchases, or your messaging chats, it isn’t collected by a covered entity. That means it is NOT protected.
At Mycroft AI, Inc. we have daily conversations about privacy. How do we keep the customer the customer and NOT the product? What shouldn’t be sellable material? Information about whether or not you have a bun in the oven CLEARLY makes that list. The problem is, the law doesn’t cover commercial use of that information. Heck, it doesn’t stop Target from telling other companies it thinks you’re pregnant, for a fee.
That’s why we are confident that moving forward, healthcare providers are going to choose Mycroft AI, Inc. over the data mining smart speakers that are currently available. If for no other reason than preventing those corporate predictors being tied back to a doctor’s office; what’s more, a HIPAA violation lawsuit just waiting to happen.
We hope the change will mean more privacy in all matters, including pregnancy. You should be able to tell the people you want, when you want, without hiding the mail.
So grant us our little wish: Here’s to less smart speakers in the womb…
Leanna’s purpose in life is to help folks, teach empathy, and make loads a little lighter. To do that, she went to law school hoping to become a movement lawyer. On her way to CUNY School of Law, she formally studied more than a dozen languages and lived abroad for about a third of her life. She joined Mycroft because she is interested in jobs that make a difference and believes that everyone should have technology they can use in the language they are most comfortable in. She believes in guerilla open access and can’t wait until accurate information is free and accessible to all.