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Patricia O'Connell
Senior Communications Manager

Kirk Nahra Discusses Privacy Issues in mHealth Technologies

Clinical Researcher
November 12, 2015

Kirk J. Nahra, chair of Wiley Rein’s Privacy Practice and co-chair of the Health Care Practice, recently discussed the myriad privacy issues related to new developments in mobile health care technologies, as a panelist at the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) mHealth & Technology Innovation Forum. His comments were published in the Clinical Researcher—ACRP’s bimonthly publication—by the editor-in-chief.

Mr. Nahra noted that these new technologies are “fundamentally disrupting the privacy and security environment” for clinical trials, and that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is not keeping pace with the technology being used to recruit subjects and gather sensitive information. 

The gaps between existing regulatory policy and advances in the health care marketplace are growing exponentially, noted Mr. Nahra. He added that because so much of the new breed of data is being generated outside of HIPAA rules and constraints, it is being developed under watered-down or even nonexistent privacy and security controls. “There is too much data being used by too many people in too many risky contexts,” he warned.

Mr. Nahra suggested that solutions could include crafting a specific policy for new types of non-HIPAA health data; developing a broader directive covering all HIPAA-related data gathering and usage; or developing a “broader” overall privacy law with or without a targeted HIPAA carve-out.