Mar 10, 2020 - Health

Trump administration finalizes health data rule

Trump holding a damaged red cross

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Trump administration finalized a rule Monday that would make it easier for patients to share their health data with apps, hospitals and doctors, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Between the lines: The rule is likely to benefit the growing health data industry, which uses the information to develop health care services. But opponents of the rule argue that it could also create data privacy issues.

What they're saying: Tech companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft — which are all trying to move into the health care space — have generally supported the rule, as have consumer groups that argue it's too difficult for patients to access and share their own health data.

The other side: “There is a legitimate concern that people will be sharing their sensitive health information with organizations that can use and sell that information however they want,” Joy Pritts, a consultant who is a former federal health-privacy official, told WSJ.

What we're watching: The American Hospital Association — which said in a statement yesterday that the rule "fails to protect consumers’ most sensitive information about their personal health" — didn't rule out litigation.

  • “We are working our way through the hundreds of pages of the rule to better understand all the operational implications for our hospitals. We will then pursue changes through the relevant government agencies and channels," AHA senior vice president Ashley Thompson told Axios' Bob Herman.

Go deeper: Big Tech's enormous access to patients' health data

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