Google Infringed on Healthcare Privacy of 50 Million Americans, Will It Come out Unscathed?
You can argue that privacy is practically nonexistent in the United States, but this argument falls short where the healthcare system is concerned.
There’s a mammoth of bottlenecks when it comes to accessing medical records, and not even medical professionals are spared. Thanks to 1996’s Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, doctors require permission to access a patient’s data.
Anything contrary to this constitutes a crime, and the medic involved may find themselves facing the full force of the law. You now get how serious an issue this is, don’t you?
A Country in Shock
As such, you get why the entire country was in shock after details of Google’s partnership with Ascension were revealed. The latter company is a major health insurer in the U.S. and also doubles up as a hospital chain.
As part of the deal between these two, Ascension shared the medical records of 50 million Americans with the tech giant, all while these individuals were in the dark about it.
By virtue of the fact that the 50 million were clueless about the partnership, it goes without saying that none of them gave their consent for the sharing of their intimate data.
Citing a whistleblower, The Guardian reports that there are numerous concerns about the Google-Ascension deal, and that members of staff involved have already downloaded some patient records.
Within less than two days after news of the partnership broke, federal regulators concerned announced that they were starting an investigation into the Silicon Valley giant’s dealing with the health insurer.
Naturally, both companies have denied any allegations of wrongdoing, claiming that their partnership complied with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act fully. But don’t all major companies caught with their hand in the cookie jar always deny allegations leveled against them?
In fact, either company’s denial has done little to calm the American public down. Google has over the years created the reputation of being an advertiser who is ever data-hungry, while Ascension, as all health insurers do, would prefer cutting operational costs as much as possible.
As such, a partnership between these two would be mutually beneficial, and with the executives’ judgement clouded by ambition, they may find themselves stepping out of the confines of the law to strike a deal.
The Whistleblower Factor
Another factor that questions the credibility of both companies is the fact that it was a whistleblower who brought details of the partnership to the public domain.
For you to come out as a whistleblower, something terribly wrong must be going on at your workplace, one that constantly eats into your conscience. By going public, you risk losing your job – doing it, therefore, means that you consider being jobless to be a small price to pay for stopping whatever ills that may be happening behind the scenes.
Unfortunately, there’s the feeling that even if found guilty, Google may still come out of this unscathed. Compared to Facebook, the search engine company has faced relatively minimal backlash.
Despite these two companies engaging in similar malpractices, it is Facebook that receives all the heat, while Google’s reputation remains intact. Will this time be any different? Unfortunately, only time will tell!
More in Health Insurance
Want Halle Berry’s Youthful Glow? Here’s Everything She Eats for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Halle Berry hasn’t aged a day, has she? Well, she has, but her body doesn’t seem to acknowledge it. At 52,...March 30, 2020
Here’s How TV Host-Actress Kelly Ripa Saved Andy Cohen’s Life from Melanoma
Radio and TV host Andy Cohen was an art opening for American socialite Gloria Vanderbilt, CNN journalist Anderson Cooper’s mom, when...March 29, 2020
A Healthier New Year and Decade With These Expert-Approved Tips
The New Year is fast approaching, and most of us must have made a number of resolutions. Funny enough, most people...March 29, 2020
Here’s What You Need to Know About Health Insurance as a First-Time Applicant
CNBC’s Annie Nova recalls her 21st birthday, revealing that she was out with a friend enjoying a long overdue drink when...March 28, 2020
Ariana Grande’s Brain Scans Show Her PTSD Is Far More Serious Than We Thought!
The effects of the unfortunate Manchester Arena 2017 terror attack live on, almost two years after the incident. People lost their...March 23, 2020
Canadian Pop Artist Justin Bieber Has Been Struggling with Lyme Disease and Mono
Being a celebrity is a job in itself, and a hard one at that. The fame and the money accompany with...March 23, 2020
Suffering from Burnout? Here’s How Reading Can Serve as an Antidote
Life as we know it can be stressful at times, and it may take every ounce of willpower we have to...March 23, 2020
Trying to Get Rid of Belly Fat? These Two Steps Guarantee Perfect Results, According to These Experts
Truth be told, it gets increasingly difficult to get rid of belly fat the more we age. However, that’s not to...March 23, 2020
Feeling Anxious After Waking Up? Here’s How to Combat Early-Morning Stress
There just those days when you wake up feeling anxious and depressed. You are afraid of what the day will turn...March 23, 2020