Retail outlets using telehealth pose significant privacy, policy concerns for healthcare

Dec. 5, 2018

A significant shift in the healthcare market is well underway, with various insurers, medical groups, vendors and supply chains pursuing acquisitions and mergers to expand their services, and retail outlets, from Walmart and Amazon to Rite-Aid and Albertsons, delivering healthcare services, including telehealth.

But do current policies adequately protect patient privacy and anticipate the capabilities of artificial intelligence and other rapidly advancing technologies? And do retailers who are rapidly expanding into traditional healthcare markets have significant advantages in terms of access to data over current healthcare organizations?

Telehealth leaders at UC Davis School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School say more needs to be done and that HIPAA, net neutrality and other policies need to be re-evaluated and updated to offer the appropriate guidance.

The researchers explore these and other policy issues in a study published in the December issue of Health Affairs.

“Retail outlets using telehealth have unique advantages and opportunities for delivering convenient care to consumers,” said Keisuke (pronounced kes-kay) Nakagawa, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UC Davis Health and first author of the study. “But it is important to monitor developments and consolidations in the healthcare market to ensure our policies are well-designed, relevant and anticipate future applications of telehealth.”

While Nakagawa is in support of innovative technologies in healthcare, a new world is emerging with smartphones, wireless internet, and smart-home devices improving access, and collecting and storing unique data, from video and audio to text and biological measurements.

With the majority of telehealth consultations occurring in the home, sessions offered through smart home devices could create a channel where both consumer and healthcare data flow seamlessly through one device back to a commercial retailer.

Peter Yellowlees, professor of psychiatry and senior author on the study, raises concerns about the lack of policies to guide the healthcare industry and the general public about the potential convergence of personal health information (PHI) with non-PHI data.

Science Daily has the full article

Sponsored Recommendations

Enhancing Remote Radiology: How Zero Trust Access Revolutionizes Healthcare Connectivity

This content details how a cloud-enabled zero trust architecture ensures high performance, compliance, and scalability, overcoming the limitations of traditional VPN solutions...

Spotlight on Artificial Intelligence

Unlock the potential of AI in our latest series. Discover how AI is revolutionizing clinical decision support, improving workflow efficiency, and transforming medical documentation...

Beyond the VPN: Zero Trust Access for a Healthcare Hybrid Work Environment

This whitepaper explores how a cloud-enabled zero trust architecture ensures secure, least privileged access to applications, meeting regulatory requirements and enhancing user...

Enhancing Remote Radiology: How Zero Trust Access Revolutionizes Healthcare Connectivity

This content details how a cloud-enabled zero trust architecture ensures high performance, compliance, and scalability, overcoming the limitations of traditional VPN solutions...