HIPAA Concerns Reign as Data Companies Enter the Healthcare Market

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Large companies such as Amazon and CVS are moving into the market, absorbing data from the companies they purchase.
Large companies such as Amazon and CVS are moving into the market, absorbing data from the companies they purchase.

With its expansion into the healthcare industry, Amazon has taken one more step towards total domination.

A recent Forbes article detailed how the trend towards the merging of the health care and "big data" spheres has the potential to disrupt the healthcare industry. Large companies such as Amazon and CVS are moving into the market, absorbing data from the companies they purchase. The much-debated CVS-Aetna merger will allow CVS access to claims datasets in addition to their own retail clinic and pharmacy data, and Walmart, rumored to be buying insurance company Humana, could be set to combine their pharmacy data with purchased health insurance data.

CVS CEO Larry Merlo is optimistic, telling Forbes reporters, "With the analytics of Aetna and CVS Health's human touch, we will create a health care platform built around individuals."

Still, the combination of healthcare information and insurance data may come with some serious pitfalls. Reporters at HealthITSecurity called into question the entrance of online retail giant Amazon into the healthcare market, particularly where HIPAA compliance is concerned.

Concerns around third-party Amazon marketplace sellers show the clear need for policies and procedures to be put in place in the case of a retail company that hopes to undergo a successful expansion into the healthcare market. Also at risk of similar incidents are mobile health apps, which are not covered by HIPAA. This lack of oversight may allow for sensitive personal information to be shared or dispersed after it leaves a hospital environment.

As more companies look to make the move into the healthcare market, considerations about security must be addressed. Though mergers could lead to improved experiences for consumers, it may be at the expense of their privacy.

References

  1. Bloom G. Disrupting health care: from Amazon to CVS, data is at the heart of it. Forbes. July 6, 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/07/06/disrupting-health-care-from-amazon-to-cvs-data-is-at-the-heart-of-it. Accessed August 30, 2018.
  2. Donovan, F. Amazon's healthcare push could run into HIPAA compliance issues. HealthITSecurity. July 9, 2018. https://healthitsecurity.com/news/amazons-healthcare-push-could-run-into-hipaa-compliance-issues. Accessed August 30, 2018.

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