House Democrats Probe Google Health Data Sharing / Security Practices

December 11, 2019


A recent Wall Street Journal article has brought the issue of health data privacy to the forefront. Democratic representatives are asking Google and Alphabet to outline how the tech giant uses the health data it collects, as well as the security measures in place to protect the information, in light of the reported Ascension collaboration.


Ascension, one of the nation’s leading non-profit health systems, is working with Google to optimize the health and wellness of individuals and communities, and deliver a comprehensive portfolio of digital capabilities that enhance the experience of Ascension consumers, patients and clinical providers across the continuum of care.


However, WSJ alleged the deal would allow Google to amass the health records of millions of patients without their consent – a claim that Google denies. Google asserts that collaboration follows HIPAA regulations, including a signed business associate agreement that outlines the function of the relationship and how any patient data collected will be used. The BAA mandates that all data from Ascension can’t be used for any other purpose than what’s outlined in the contract.


But government and industry stakeholders are still concerned given, noting that HIPAA was not designed for the highly digital nature of healthcare today. As a result, the partnership has been put under a microscope.


Are you a business associate working with Protected Health Information (PHI)? Contact HIPAAcraticRx to make sure you have current and appropriate Business Associate Agreements in place.

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