MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Health records from hospitals in 26 states that was later sold to researchers and companies contained data that could be linked to individuals, raising concerns about how differing levels of compliance with data redaction standards put patients’ privacy at risk, Bloomberg reported.
Some of the data contained personal identifying information such as age or zip code, according to the news service.
In 1 instance, data from a set of 650,000 hospitalization records sent by Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Wash., to that state’s health department was later traced back to Ray Boylston, the victim of a motorcycle accident, by Bloomberg.
"Hospitals in Washington, and other states, are required by state law to provide patient discharge data to the state department of health. It is the state that is making portions of the records, scrubbed of identifying information, available – not the hospital," a Providence Sacred Heart spokeswoman told MassDevice.com today in an email..*
But state public health agencies, including those in the Evergreen State, aren’t bound by the privacy rules enshrined in the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act. Only some states abide by the guidelines, which mandate the redaction of all identifying information from medical records before they are sold to outside parties.
Former NFL player convicted of manipulating Heart Tronics stock
Former NFL player Willie Gault and others were found guilty of a series of fraud charges Monday, a Southern Florida district judge ruling that the football star conspired with a California attorney to artificially manipulate stock prices for Heart Tronics.
The SEC sued the ex-Chicago Bears wide receiver, who was CEO of Heart Tronics, in 2011 along with 5 others after the Studio City, Calif.-based medical device company reported millions in false sale orders from 2006 to 2008.
The CDC says healthcare costs are down for families
Healthcare costs for individual families were down 1.4% in the 1st 6 months of 2012 when compared to the same time period in 2011. The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics issued a report indicating fewer families experienced difficulty paying medical bills in 2012. This report is the largest with these metrics, and comprises interviews with 155,321 individuals conducted between January 2011 and June 2012.
InspireMD’s device to prevent embolisms shows promise
InspireMD created a stent that is meant to protect patients from dangerous delayed events after stent surgery, particularly if a procedure will dislodges blood plaque that can cause embolisms. The MGuard Embolic Protection Stent uses an extra mesh sleeve to catch plaque, and InspireMD’s Master trial is showing positive results for the technique so far.
The Mass. eHealth Institute aims to streamline state electronic medical records
The Massachusetts eHealth Institute is rounding up funding to take a closer look at the state’s Health Information Exchange system, nicknamed the MassHIway. The MassHIway is a recently launched electronic medical record sharing interface between healthcare providers and outside organizations.
The eHealth Institute wants to streamline the exchange with a vendor interface portal. The institute is encouraging groups to step up to the challenge, offering grants up to $150,000, that will be awarded in July.
*Correction, June 6, 2013: Due to a reporter’s error, this article originally mis-stated the nature of the transaction regarding patient data between the state of Washington and Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. Return to the corrected sentence.