USA: HIPAA and Wearable Technology – Does It Provide a Loophole?

OneTrust DataGuidance December 2020

Alaap B. Shah and Patricia M. Wagner, Members of the Firm in the Health Care & Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, co-authored an article in OneTrust DataGuidance, titled “USA: HIPAA and Wearable Technology – Does It Provide a Loophole?”

Following is an excerpt:

Rapid innovations in wearable technology coupled with increasing adoption of such technologies by consumers have raised significant privacy considerations. Many wearable technologies can seamlessly collect, aggregate, use, and transmit large quantities of identifiable information about consumers. Alaap Shah, Member of the Firm, and Patricia Wagner, Member of the Firm and General Counsel/Chief Privacy Officer at Epstein, Becker & Green, P.C., discuss current US privacy laws, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ('HIPAA'), and how these have an effect on wearable technologies as they become more prevalent.

Identifiable information may be collected: (i) upon registration to use the wearable technology including associated hardware and software products; (ii) through interconnection with healthcare providers; (iii) integration with social media accounts; (iv) through user activity and body functioning; and (v) through geolocation, among other means. Yet, evaluating legal requirements governing how wearable technology reveals a patchwork of often confusing, overlapping, or even missing regulation.