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App Developers Seek Clearer U.S. Health Data Privacy Guidelines

Developers of apps for mobile devices are asking a U.S. agency to clarify its rules for protecting patient health information to reflect the fast-evolving technology. On Monday, a consortium of start-ups including CareSync, AirStrip and AngelMD, sent a letter to Pennsylvania Republican Representative Tom Marino, to express their frustration at the lack of developer-friendly online resources surrounding the privacy rules, known as HIPAA. Apps such as AirStrip are particularly concerned about security and privacy, as they provide data to doctors to help them make urgent care decisions. In the letter viewed by Reuters, the developers said they are struggling to compete with larger vendors that have the resources to hire lawyers and consultants. They say they must rely on government websites, which have not been updated recently. Regulators "have not kept pace with the rapid growth of technology that gives users greater access to healthcare providers and more control over their health information," the letter said. This complaint comes at a time developers, lobbyists and policymakers are engaged in heated discussions about how to oversee the growing mobile health market.

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--- Reuters