Jan 16, 2020

HHS' pending data-sharing rules spark fight over patient records

Alex Azar, secretary of HHS. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

There's an intense lobbying fight over Health and Human Services' pending health care data-sharing rules, Politico reports.

Between the lines: The fight involves hospitals, digital health firms and patient advocates.

Details: The rules would give patients access to their health information and allow them to share it with third-party apps.

  • Hospitals would have to send notifications when patients are admitted, discharged or transferred, information blocking would be penalized, and researchers and doctors would be allowed to share screenshots of software.

Health software giants like Epic and Cerner say the rules make patients vulnerable to venture capitalists and app developers taking advantage of their data while requiring the companies to give their trade secrets away.

  • But advocates of the policy, including HHS Secretary Alex Azar, say it would empower patients.

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Big Tech's enormous access to patients' health data

It's not just Google — Amazon, IBM and Microsoft have also struck deals with hospitals across the country to gain access to patient data, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: It reveals just how expansive the relationship between tech companies and hospitals has become — and lawmakers have taken notice.

Go deeperArrowJan 21, 2020

Military hospitals are aggressively going after medical debt

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Add the U.S. government to the list of groups going after patients for thousands of dollars in medical debt, per reporting by The Center for Public Integrity and The Atlantic.

How it works: Civilians can receive care at military hospitals in an emergency or if the military hospital offers superior care.

Go deeperArrowJan 22, 2020

WHO warns of 13 emerging health threats including possible pandemics

Photo: Probst/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Government leaders need to implement a "decade of change" and invest more in the key health priorities and systems to prevent global health threats over the next decade, the World Health Organization warned last week.

What's new: Climate change, infectious diseases and epidemic threats, socioeconomic inequalities, and conflicts are some of the 13 urgent challenges WHO says will imperil global health — but addressing them is "within reach" if action is taken now.

Go deeperArrowJan 20, 2020