Health Law Seminar: Health Information Privacy and Innovation

This course will focus on the uses (and misuses) of health information compiled about patients, insureds, research subjects, physicians, hospitals, and populations. Medical privacy law has focused on assuring the privacy, security, and accuracy of medical data. The post-ACA landscape will include more concern about balancing privacy, innovation, access, and cost-control.

Advanced information technology has raised a number of new questions. Beyond HIPAA and HITECH regulation, consumer protection law plays an important role in these fields. (For example, the FTC recently required firms that “score” the health status of individuals based on their pharmacy records to disclose these records to scored individuals.) Patients are opting to personalize their health records with the help of cloud computing firms; what law governs this digital migration?

The course will also examine the legal aspects of data portability, integrity, and accuracy. When two health records conflict, which takes priority? What is “meaningful use” of an electronic health records system, and how will regulators and vendors assure interoperability between systems? The course will also cover innovators’ efforts to protect their health data systems using contracts, technology, trade secrecy, patents, and copyright, and "improvers'" efforts to circumvent those legal and technological barriers to openness. We will also examine pharmaceutical companies’ past and present strategies regarding the disclosure of their research. After covering provider data, we will turn to insurer data, including trade-secret protection of prices paid to hospitals, conflicts over the interpretation of disclosure requirements in the ACA, and state regulation of insurer-run doctor-rating sites. Quality improvement and pilot programs will also be examined.

Key to Codes in Course Descriptions
P: Prerequisite
C: Prerequisite or Concurrent Requirement
R: Recommended Prior or Concurrent Course