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How the Internet and The Mapping of the Human Genome Disrupted the Teaching of Health Law: Does The 21st Century Really Change Everything?

This piece was part of a symposium featuring commentary from participants in the Center for Health Policy and Law’s annual conference, Promises and Perils of Emerging Health Innovations, held on April 11-12, 2019 at Northeastern University School of Law. The symposium was originally posted through the Northeastern University Law Review Online Forum.

Promises and Perils of Emerging Health Innovations Blog Symposium

We are pleased to present this symposium featuring commentary from participants in the Center for Health Policy and Law’s annual conference, Promises and Perils of Emerging Health Innovations, held on April 11-12, 2019 at Northeastern University School of Law. As a note, additional detailed analyses of issues discussed during the conference will be published in the forthcoming issue of the Northeastern University Law Review.

Throughout the two-day conference, speakers and attendees discussed how innovations, including artificial intelligence, robotics, mobile technology, gene therapies, pharmaceuticals, big data analytics, tele- and virtual health care delivery, and new models of delivery, such as accountable care organizations (ACOs), retail clinics, and medical-legal partnerships (MLPs), have entered and changed the healthcare market. More dramatic innovations and market disruptions are likely in the years to come. These new technologies and market disruptions offer immense promise to advance health care quality and efficiency, as well as improve provider and patient engagement. Success will depend, however, on careful consideration of potential perils and well-planned interventions to ensure new methods ultimately further, rather than diminish, the health of patients, especially those who are the most vulnerable.

In her post for the Promises and Perils of Emerging Health Innovations blog symposium, Jennifer S. Bard addresses many of the negative impacts of new health technologies, particularly as they apply to patient privacy. Bard points to special concerns in how we use health information related to DNA, mental health, and chronic illness. Throughout her piece, Bard also highlights the fact that law has not caught up to changes in technology and privacy issues, which causes more concern about how society and the healthcare system use these innovations.

How the Internet and The Mapping of the Human Genome Disrupted the Teaching of Health Law: Does The 21st Century Really Change Everything?

By Jennifer S. Bard

For the symposium, I was asked to grapple with how health law teaching has been disrupted by technological innovation. On these occasions, my thoughts immediately go to the rapidly evolving expectations of privacy in the face of the ever growing breaches of cyber security in healthcare settings, the widespread access to communications technology, and the rapidly evolving technologies to establish identity and extract significant amounts of medical information from the genetic material left behind on a coffee cup. Jessica Davis, Malicious Code on Mission Health Store Website Undetected for 3 Years, Xtelligent Healthcare Media (Oct. 17, 2019), https://healthitsecurity.com/news/malicious-code-on-mission-health-store-website-undetected-for-3-years; Eriq Gardner, The Marvel Chairman, a Hate-Mail Feud and Claims of Stolen DNA, The Hollywood Reporter (Aug. 11, 2016), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/isaac-perlmutter-story-marvel-chairmans-918237. Privacy laws of the past, including the original formulation of HIPAA, assumed that records were physical objects that could be kept secure behind locked doors. Today’s electronic records, which can be transmitted in the millions with no removal of a physical object, cannot be regulated in the same way. Even as HIPAA and other health information cyber security laws evolve, technology evolves faster, leaving us to face the larger questions of what we mean by a right to “privacy” for health information and what are realistic expectations of those who create and retain this information. Summary of the HIPAA Security Rule, U.S. Dep’t of Health and Human Serv., https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/security/laws-regulations/index.html (last visited Oct. 19, 2019); Elizabeth Snell, How the FTC Act, HIPPA Privacy Rule Impact Healthcare Orgs, Xtelligent Healthcare Media (Feb. 19, 2018), https://healthitsecurity.com/news/how-the-ftc-act-hipaa-privacy-rule-impact-healthcare-orgs.

Read the rest of the post at Northeastern University Law Review Forum.

Jennifer S. Bard

Jennifer S. Bard

Jennifer S. Bard is a professor of law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law where she also holds an appointment as professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Prior to joining the University of Cincinnati, Bard was associate vice provost for academic engagement at Texas Tech University and was the Alvin R. Allison Professor of Law and director of the Health Law and JD/MD program at Texas Tech University School of Law. From 2012 to 2013, she served as associate dean for faculty research and development at Texas Tech Law.

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