Sunday, July 24, 2016

No one noticed for five years?  No complaints of data not received by the right doctors?  None of the wrong doctors reported the errors?  Much more likely that no NHS managers bothered to do anything. 
Patrick Christys reports:
The NHS Shared Business Services (SBS) should have redirected test results and treatment advice which was sent to the wrong family doctors across swathed of Britain, but it failed to do so.
The Government refused to say how many patients were affected by the gaffe, which ran from 2011 until earlier this year.
Three large parts of the UK were affected – North East London, the South West and the East Midlands.
Read more on Express.

It’s that time again.  How many new and untested voting machines will we see? 
The state board of elections is reviewing just to what extent a hacker breached its online voter registration system.
Illinois State Board of Elections General Counsel Ken Menzel said something flagged a breach in the online voter registration portal on July 12.  He said the compromised information could be wide-ranging.
“It would be a name and address, a date of birth, and the last four digits of one’s Social Security number, if that’s what’s you used as your identification when you registered; a driver’s license number, if that’s what the voter used when they registered to vote,” Menzel said.
Read more on Illinois News Network.

Should this be secret?  Should patients be able to avoid privacy abusers?  Could be a great project for IBM’s Watson.  Perhaps I could interest my students.
by Charles Ornstein ProPublica, July 21, 2016, 8 a.m.
When the federal government takes the rare step of fining medical providers for violating the privacy and security of patients’ medical information, it issues a press release and posts details on the web.
But thousands of times a year, the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services resolves complaints about possible violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act quietly, outside public view.  It sends letters reminding providers of their legal obligations, advising them on how to fix purported problems, and, sometimes, prodding them to make voluntary changes.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, ProPublica requested letters closing HIPAA complaint investigations.  Here’s what we’ve received so far.
   As part of its examination into the impact of privacy violations on patients, ProPublica has posted about 300 of these “closure letters” in our HIPAA Helper tool. … (See a list of the letters.)
Most of the letters we’ve received were sent to two large providers, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and CVS Health.  They are the entities with the most privacy complaints that resulted in corrective-action plans or “technical assistance” provided by the Office for Civil Rights from 2011 to 2014.
   Currently, the government provides only vague summaries of the issues it investigates, without the specifics that could make the information useful, said Dennis Melamed, who publishes a newsletter and website on HIPAA compliance.  The top five categories of complaints in 2014, according to the Office for Civil Rights website, were impermissible uses and disclosures, safeguards, administrative safeguards, access and technical safeguards.
“We’re not really sure what’s going on,” Melamed said.  “The terminology is confusing, it’s overlapping and it’s not consistent.”
   Deven McGraw, deputy director for health information privacy at the Office for Civil Rights, said her agency wants to put closure letters online but is constrained by its limited budget. [Wow!  We’ve never heard that before!  Bob]  
   David Holtzman, who used to work at the Office for Civil Rights and is now vice president of compliance strategies for CynergisTek, a consulting firm, said the government does not have the money to catalog and archive closure letters.  The Office for Civil Rights, whose budget has been flat for several years, should focus its resources on improving internal systems to detect and respond to privacy and security breaches instead, he added.
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(Related)  Perhaps a new category of HIPAA violations?
Steven Andrews reports:
Pokémon Go, the most popular mobile game app ever in the U.S., has captured the attention of players of all ages.  But it could also be capturing sensitive images and information in hospitals, which could lead to a violation of HIPAA privacy rules.
Employees at Massachusetts General Hospital received an email yesterday reminding them that Pokémon Go may not be used during work or on hospital property.
“The ability for smart phones (sic) to record images and location via the camera and GPS features pose a significant risk to patient privacy and safety,” wrote Steve Taranto, director of human resources, at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Read more on HealthLeaders Media

The new political vetting process?
BIG MOTHER: Hillary Clinton Demanded Passwords to Every Social Media Account of Veep Candidates’ Family Members
They had to turn over every password for every social media account for every member of their families.
They had to list every piece of property they’d ever owned, and copies of every résumé that they’d put out for the past 10 years.  Every business partner.  Every gift they’d ever received, according to those familiar with the details of the vetting process.
Even though Politico leads with the shockingly broad invasion of privacy of candidates’ family members, Politico never mentions it again in the article leaving many questions unasked and unanswered.  How many candidates?  Did the password demand cover adult children in addition to husbands and wives?  Young children?  Parents of the candidates?  Grandparents?  Aunts and uncles and cousins?  In-laws?  Any pushback?  Who handled the passwords and searched the accounts, lawyers or college interns?  What online habits were disqualifying?  Will the accounts be monitored during the campaign?  Instead the demand is just glowingly presented by Politico as a sign of Clinton’s toughness and thoroughness in her search for a running mate.

Perspective.  How (not?) to compete with a dominant player in the market? 
A Year In, Is Still Trying to Take On Amazon
A year ago yesterday,, the e-commerce upstart gunning for Amazon, opened for business.  It premiered with a huge amount of hype after getting hundreds of millions in funding and a nearly $600 million valuation before selling a single purse, microwave, or bottle of laundry detergent.
But the past year has been filled with challenges.  The company has been forced to shift strategies, weathered reports that it was bleeding cash with no clear path to profitability, and scuffled with high profile brands.
   Jet originally launched its membership-based e-commerce site in July 2015 to take on brick and mortar warehouse clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco while also competing against Amazon’s bulk products business.  For a $50 annual membership, Jet members could buy diapers, cleaning supplies, and sporting goods, promising prices 10% to 15% below elsewhere online.
But in October, Jet dropped its $50 membership fee, which at the time was of its only ways to make a profit.  Because of the discounted prices of around 10% on items, Jet doesn’t make a profit on its sales.  But the company said that customers were still happy with 4% or 5% discounts, allowing the company to make some money from selling items like toilet paper and diapers.

There’s an App for that?  (Some ideas worth stealing?)
Out with elephants and in with apps: Ringling Bros. is reinventing the circus
Close your eyes and envision the circus: What do you see?  Enormous strutting elephants. or entertainers in flashy, multicolored outfits performing acrobatics, riding bikes, and acting like clowns, all at the same time?  But if you were to open your eyes to Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey’s new show, Out of This World, you wouldn’t recognize anything you’ve come to associate with the 146-year old Greatest Show on Earth.
   Ringling Brothers also unveiled a new mobile app — available exclusive for iOS devices, currently — which lets users take a Circus Selfie, then apply photo filters to dress themselves up in circus-style garb, right up to the Ringmaster.  The app also brings you closer to the performers with a Meet The Performer tab.  All of the performers in Out of This World wear costumes outfitted with speakers that emit an inaudible signal that a phone’s microphone can detect.  When picked up by a phone using the app, interactive information on the performer is provided.

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