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February 6, 2016 Isn’t the Only Intersection of Government, Health and Technology


The federal government’s efforts to enroll people into health insurance plans online might have been one of the most high-profile and contentious intersections of the federal government, health and technology, but it’s certainly not the only space where these issues come together.  CQ HealthBeat’s Kerry Young writes about federal efforts to make health data more accessible:

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Anne Wojcicki had to halt sales of her company’s genetic tests for medical uses last year after the Food and Drug Administration voiced concerns over how the data would be used and its accuracy.

That experience hasn’t soured Wojcicki’s outlook on the role that the government may play going forward in transforming a growing wealth of data into practical tools for improving the health of Americans. In fact, in a Tuesday interview, she was enthusiastic about the steps that officials within the Department of Health and Human Services are taking to make personal health information and broader health trends accessible.

Young notes that there are “deep concerns about protecting the privacy of medical data” and that issue cropped up at a recent House Energy and Commerce Committee roundtable discussion that Wojcicki attended.

For example, Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo. posed this question to participants:

So, I think that’s an excellent question for the panel to talk about is how do you balance this… desire for patients to have their information and to have their families but also to stop inappropriate use of information [because] that’s the balance we’ve always been trying to achieve and what it’s sounding like you all don’t think we really have done that.

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