Group Lowers White House's Grade for Health Data Privacy

The Obama administration received a lower score than last year on its efforts to protect the privacy of health information and consumer data, according to a new report card released by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Computerworld reports.

Report Card Details

For the report card, EPIC's advisory board evaluated the administration's performance on various privacy efforts. The group gave the administration:

  • A "B" grade for protecting health care data;
  • A "B" grade for cybersecurity;
  • A "C" grade for securing consumer data; and
  • A "D" grade for protecting civil liberties.

This year's grades are lower than the scores EPIC awarded last year (Vijayan, Computerworld, 10/22). In 2009, EPIC gave the administration an "A-" grade for protecting medical data.

According to the report, "Privacy experts are underrepresented on key committees, and the willingness of the White House to press for strong safeguards for patients remains unclear" (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 10/22).

Call for Health Data Privacy Incentives

Latanya Sweeney -- an EPIC advisory board member and professor of computer science, technology and policy at Carnegie Mellon University -- said the Obama administration has not delivered on expectations for improved health data privacy protections.

She noted that the economic stimulus package provides incentive payments for the "meaningful use" of electronic health records but that implementation of the program lacks sufficient health data privacy protections (Computerworld, 10/22).

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