Minnesota lawmakers are being encouraged to hold their ground and defend the state's Health Records Act.
Twila Brase, R.N., president and co-founder of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, tells OneNewsNow the Minnesota Health Records Act (MHRA) actually requires patient consent for the sharing of private medical records, which is very much unlike HIPAA.
"People think HIPAA protects privacy, but it actually allows the sharing of data unless there is a stronger state law," she explains. "Minnesota has the strongest state law in the entire nation and requires actual consent before medical records can be shared with anyone."
It was reported last November that Ascension, one of the nation's leading non-profit health systems, is working with Google to "optimize the health and wellness of individuals and communities and deliver a comprehensive portfolio of digital capabilities that enhance the experience of Ascension consumers, patients, and clinical providers across the continuum of care."
Whatever the case may be, Brase has concerns.
"Ascension Health is sending the medical records of 50 million people to Google," she explains. "That is possible because HIPAA is a data-sharing rule, and it does not require patient consent for that kind of sharing of information. But in Minnesota, you would actually have to have patient consent before you could send someone's medical records to Google."
According to Brase, big corporations are pushing Minnesota legislators to get rid of the state's privacy and consent law.
"It is very important for anyone who cares about privacy to actually keep this law in place because it stands as an example of what should happen in the rest of the country for privacy," she tells OneNewsNow.
Google is not the only contender in the race to utilize what Brase considers treasure troves of patient data without consent. Microsoft has inked deals with Providence St. Joseph Health and Humana. Cerner and Amazon are also working together to use patient data to evaluate population health.