Minnesota introduced a bill to require healthcare providers to use a HIPAA Universal Consent form with the idea of protecting the healthcare privacy of it’s citizens.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was designed to make private health information more portable, not more private. It’s primary intent invites, even encourages violations of personal privacy with regards to health information.
Healthcare providers, often under the guise of HIPAA, ask or require a blanket requests to share your personal health information (PHI) with anyone for any reason. Such use is not consistent with the original intent of HIPPA, but is now how it is used routinely. Such requests are not for the benefit of patients, but for cost savings benefits of providers at the risk of patient privacy and abuse.
In an effort to exploit the lack of understanding of individuals, some providers may use strong arm tactics such as telling patients if they don’t consent to a blanket release, they will be denied medical services. Others have used a requirement that you provide your intent in requesting the information, making such a request conditional to providing medical care.
Both of these are not part of HIPAA yet they are not a violation of HIPAA either. HIPAA does not guarantee the privacy of your PHI, it guarantees the portability of it. With regard to your rights to access your own PHI, HIPAA does provide rules to follow, but not all providers follow these rules.
It is incumbent upon the individual to educate themselves with regards to what rights they and their providers have with regards to PHI.
For more information on Minnesota’s efforts to protect PHI view this video.
The US as well as the world, since 2013 has seen an explosive growth in surveillance and monitoring of private citizens by government and corporations. The development of Big Data and Machine Learning technologies are keys to implementing an ability to collect not just personal data, but personal meta data.
Meta Data is data, or information, about data. An example would be the ability to track an individual, via your cell phone number and GPS, locations you go to as you carry your phone. While an observer may not know what you did there, with the ability to collect such information minute by minute, a larger picture of your activities can be made and from that, intent can be inferred. This is the power of Meta Data also known as “bulk data”.
After September 2011, the Patriot Act was an example of how the US Government spied on every American citizen by surveying and monitoring every text message, email and phone call made in out of the US. Eventually this ability was rolled back, but the ability of corporations to do something similar, has not.