Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Partners in mHealth

The mHealth Alliance, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Baker & McKenzie, and Merck are partnering on a new project to increase the understanding of privacy and security policies related to the use of mobile technologies in healthcare.

According to a 2011 World Health Organization report, governments cite issues related to data privacy and security and the protection of individual health information as two of the top barriers to the expansion of mHealth. Protecting personal health information that is collected and transmitted over mobile devices is essential to bringing mHealth to scale.

The project will develop case studies of seven geographically diverse countries where mHealth programs are underway. These countries include Bangladesh, Chile, India, Nigeria, Peru, Tanzania, and Uganda. Working with law firms in those countries, the partners will research and analyze the status of policies, laws, and standards that address mHealth-related privacy and security issues.

The goal is to better understand the current policy landscape and identify gaps that must be addressed to protect health data transmitted over mobile devices. Next year, the partners will release the policy landscape analysis and outline best practices and recommended steps to close policy gaps in the ethical and secure use of mHealth data.

The project was facilitated by TrustLaw Connect, a Thomson Reuters Foundation service which allows NGOs and social enterprises to access free legal assistance. TrustLaw Connect brokered the partnership between the mHealth alliance and the team of global and local law firms led by Baker & McKenzie and the legal team at Merck.