HIPAA may be the next hurdle for wearables and mHealth

As wearable technology and mHealth apps continue to gain steam in the marketplace, these technologies are looking to gather more in-depth health data. These new platforms – like Apple’s HealthKit – are looking to evolve how healthcare providers could access data. Samsung and Apple are both reported to be working with Epic, the current leading vendor for electronic health records for large medical campuses.


With these technologies continuing to gain steam, privacy concerns are increasing. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted to stem these privacy concerns surrounding health information. As more data is collected by these new technologies, at what point will this information need to be regulated by HIPAA?


According to Venture Beat, it depends on who utilizes these apps – the general public or healthcare professionals. Tech companies will need to be aware of these guidelines, but they were developed around those who are handling the actual data. Because many apps are developed to help the consumer and not a healthcare professional, they would be excluded from HIPAA.


This may seam straightforward, but as this technology advances, HIPAA’s role will be increasingly questioned. If consumers are looking to share this data with their healthcare professionals for feedback, HIPAA compliance may come into play for the developers of mHealth technologies.


As the Department of Health and Human Services continues to adapt HIPAA to these new technologies, consumers, healthcare professionals and developers will need to keep an eye on the safety of shared data. 



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