Virtual Assistants Not HIPAA Compliant

Lawyer recommends physicians should not bring Siri and Alexa to the office

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FRIDAY, July 13, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Virtual assistant programs like Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa are not yet in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), warns an article published in Medical Economics.

While it is tempting for doctors to employ the technology for scheduling or note taking with a simple voice command, these technologies need additional advancements and protections to ensure that sensitive patient data are safe.

Kevin Peek, J.D., and Kyle Haubrich, J.D., from the law firm Sandberg Phoenix in St. Louis, note that failure on the part of the physician to secure medical record data can not only cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it also supplies thieves with an opportunity to commit identify theft.

"While you may be tempted to bring your shiny new Amazon Echo, Google Home, or HomePod to your office, you would be well advised to keep your smart speaker at home for the time being until virtual assistance becomes well acquainted with HIPAA," the authors write.

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