Genetic testing may be coming to your office | Wall Street Journal
Some companies are offering employees free or reduced-cost genetic tests for markers linked to cancers and metabolic diseases, in hopes that arming employees with more information may help them take proactive steps to reduce their risk of developing costly health conditions down the line. But that has some health experts concerned about the potential for discrimination and violations of employees health information privacy.
FDA to hire data officer, revamp IT systems | Bloomberg BNA
Food and Drug Administration CIO Todd Simpson announced the agency will overhaul its IT infrastructure in 2016, Bloomberg BNA reports. The FDA is seeking to digitize its inspection processes and promote interoperability among currently disjointed lab and field office IT systems. The agency will hire a new data officer to take charge of the project, Simpson said.
You can buy insulin without a prescription, but should you? | Kaiser Health News/NPR
According to IMS Health, around 15% of people who buy insulin in the U.S. buy it without a prescription. The FDA says the over-the-counter insulin is an older version than what is prescribed today that is less concentrated, and it's widely available so patients in need can access it quickly in emergencies. But for many diabetic Americans without access to regular care or insurance coverage, over-the-counter insulin may be their primary method of treating the disease. Some physicians think that's a risky situation the FDA needs to address.
Insurance companies are hiring data-mining firms to compile data on customers ranging from what kind of car they drive to their shopping habits and hobbies. That data, seemingly unrelated to health data the insurance companies already have, can help the insurance companies predict who may be in need of a health intervention, but privacy advocates say patients are rarely aware of the practice and worry the data could be used in ways that compromise patient access to care.
While hacks of provider and health plan data affecting millions of Americans are widely covered in the news, health data breaches outside the health industry are also common, according to a Verizon report released Wednesday. The report, which tracked 1,900 breaches in 25 countries over the last 20 years, found that 90% of all industries have experienced breaches of personal health data. The incidents are often breaches of employee health or workman's compensation data and were frequently the result of unencrypted lost or stolen devices.