Archives: Health Privacy

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HHS Seeks to Facilitate Certain Uses and Disclosures of Health Data to Public Health and Health Oversight Agencies Amidst COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency

On April 2, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued a Notification of Enforcement Discretion (the “Notification”) regarding the disclosure of protected health information (“PHI”) to public health authorities and use of PHI to perform analytics for such authorities.  Designed to “facilitate uses and disclosures for public health and health oversight … Continue Reading

Greek Data Protection Authority Issues Guidelines on Data Protection and Coronavirus

On 18 March, 2020, the Hellenic (Greek) Data Protection Authority (“HDPA”) issued guidelines on data protection and COVID-19. With these guidelines, the HDPA aims to provide guidance on the interpretation and application of data protection legislation during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this blog, we summarise the key points included in the HDPA’s guidelines. Categorization of … Continue Reading

HHS Relaxes Enforcement of Certain HIPAA Provisions Amidst COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency

This month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued guidance waiving enforcement of certain provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) in response to the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.… Continue Reading

Global Privacy Assembly Issues Statement on COVID-19

On March 17, 2020, the Executive Committee of the Global Privacy Assembly (“GPA”) issued a statement on data protection in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The GPA is an entity representing data protection and privacy regulators around the globe, formerly known as the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (“ICDPPC”). The GPA … Continue Reading

HHS Finalizes Interoperability Rules

In a new post on the Covington Digital Health blog, our colleagues discuss two recent final rules aimed at improving patient access to electronic health information (EHI) and standardizing modes of exchange for EHI.  Among other things, the rules are intended to prevent so-called “information blocking” and to provide patients with greater control over their … Continue Reading

Italian Government and Trade Unions Sign Protocol on Fighting COVID-19 in the Workplace

On March 14, 2020, the Italian Government and several trade unions have signed a protocol, which establishes specific procedures for fighting COVID-19 in the workplace. The protocol also includes provisions on the processing of personal data of employees.  In particular, it provides that employers may subject their employees to pro-active body temperature controls before entering … Continue Reading

German Authorities Issue Guidance Related to Coronavirus

Over the past several days, Germany Supervisory Authorities and health authorities have issued statements and guidance about the handling of personal data in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  In this blog, we consider some these statements in greater detail, as well as their implications for employers and employees.… Continue Reading

EDPB Chair Issues Statement on Data Protection and COVID-19

On March 16, 2020, the Chair of the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”), Andrea Jelinek, issued a statement on the processing of personal data in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. The statement made clear that EU data protection law does not stand in the way of the adoption of measures to fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.  However, … Continue Reading

Belgian Supervisory Authority Issues Guidance on Data Protection and Coronavirus

On March 13, 2020, the Belgian data protection authority (“APD”) issued guidance on data protection and COVID-19. The guidance is mainly aimed at employers processing personal data of employees in the context of the measures they have taken to contain the spreading of COVID-19. The guidance is divided in the following three parts: legal basis … Continue Reading

Hungarian Supervisory Authority Issues Guidance on Data Protection and Coronavirus

On March 10, 2020, the Hungarian National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (“NAIH”) issued guidance on data protection and COVID-19. The NAIH highlights that controllers processing personal data in the context of their efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 must comply with the GDPR as well as Hungarian data protection law. … Continue Reading

Spanish Supervisory Authority Issues Statement on Data Protection and Coronavirus

On March 12, 2020, the Spanish Supervisor Authority (“AEDP”) issued a statement and a report on data protection and COVID-19. The AEPD highlights that controllers processing personal data in the context of their effort to prevent COVID-19 must comply with the GDPR, the Spanish Data Protection Law and the Spanish sectorial health laws. However, the … Continue Reading

UK Supervisory Authority Issues Statement on Data Protection and Coronavirus

 On March 12, 2020, the UK Supervisory Authority (“ICO”) issued a statement on data protection and coronavirus (“COVID-19”).  The statement makes clear that the ICO will take a “reasonable and pragmatic” approach regarding compliance with the GDPR in light of the current health emergency. Similar to the Irish Supervisory Authority (see our previous blog here), … Continue Reading

Procurement Tenders in the Health Sector: More Protection for Patient Data

On March 6, 2020, the Italian Data Protection Authority (“Garante”) reported on new measures designed to protect the health data of patients in the context of Government procurement efforts (calls for tender) to acquire medical equipment and devices. The new measures are the result of a collaboration between the Garante and Consip, a company wholly … Continue Reading

Key COVID-19 Issues for Privacy and Cybersecurity Professionals

Covington experts on issues as varied as supply chain and other commercial contracts, employment, and insurance are supporting companies on the commercial implications of Coronavirus COVID-19.  But this blog post provides a brief overview of some of the key issues that privacy and cybersecurity professionals should have top of mind in dealing with response efforts.  … Continue Reading

European Commission’s Plans for AI and Data: Focus on Digital Health (Part 4 of 4)

In this final instalment of our series of blogs on the European Commission’s plans for AI and data, announced on 19 February 2020, we discuss some potential effects on companies in the digital health sector. As discussed in our previous blog posts (here, here and here), the papers published by the European Commission cover broad … Continue Reading

Germany Publishes Draft Regulation on the Reimbursement of Digital Health Applications

Germany recently enacted a law that enables state health insurance schemes to reimburse costs related to the use of digital health applications (“health apps”), but the law requires the Federal Ministry of Health to first develop the reimbursement process for such apps.  Accordingly, on January 15, 2020, the German government published a draft regulation setting … Continue Reading

European Parliament Endorses Digital Health Resolution

On December 12, 2019, the European Parliament endorsed a non-binding resolution on enabling the digital transformation of health and care. The resolution calls on the European Commission to take a number of actions to foster the development of digital health systems in Europe to improve patient care and support research efforts — particularly those using … Continue Reading

The European Data Protection Board and the European Data Protection Supervisor consider the European Commission to be a processor of patient data in the eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure

On July 12, 2019, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) and the European Data Protection Supervisor (“EDPS”) issued a joint opinion on the processing of patient data and the role of the European Commission within the eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure (“eHDSI”). Background The eHDSI system was established in the context of the eHealth Network.  The … Continue Reading

HHS Extends Comment Period for Proposed Rules on Patient Access and Interoperability

On April 19, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a 30-day extension, until June 3, 2019, to the comment period for two rules proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). The CMS proposed rule aims to … Continue Reading

HHS Clarifies HIPAA Liability for EHR System Developers that Transfer Data to Health Apps

On Friday, April 19, 2019, the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) explained in an FAQ the circumstances under which electronic health record (EHR) systems may be subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) liability for an app’s impermissible use or disclosure … Continue Reading

European Commission Issues Updated Q&A on Interplay between the GDPR and the Clinical Trials Regulation

On April 10, 2019, European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety issued a revised Q&A analyzing the interplay between the EU Clinical Trials Regulation (“CTR”) and the  EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).  The revised Q&A takes into account the opinion of the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) issued on January 23, 2019, on … Continue Reading

Association of German Supervisory Authorities issues paper on broad consent for research

On April 3, 2019, the Association of German Supervisory Authorities (“Datenschutzkonferenz” or “DSK”) issued a paper (available here in German) on the interpretation of “broad consent” for scientific research in Recital 33 of the GDPR and the interplay with the definition of consent  and the principle of purpose limitation. According to the DSK, broad consent … Continue Reading

Council of Europe issues recommendation on health-related data

On March 28, 2019, the Council of Europe* issued a new Recommendation on the protection of health-related data.  The Recommendation calls on all Council of Europe member states to take steps to ensure that the principles for processing health-related data (in both the public and private sector) set out in the Appendix of the Recommendation … Continue Reading
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