MDF’s director, Helen Brunner, has published a piece in the Chronicle of Philanthropy about the ways in which technology policy affects health care.
Foundation and nonprofit leaders who joined the fight to make affordable, quality health care a reality for all Americans achieved a true victory last month.
But as grant makers build on the momentum created by the Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, we must consider how to ensure that in putting the law into effect, everything is done in a practical way that truly makes health care more affordable, accessible, and secure. In particular, that requires grant makers to put their money into projects that expand Internet access and privacy protections.
Right now, there is nothing to stop private companies from monitoring personal medical information through our online activity.
The health-care law acknowledges the importance of technology in two key ways: by requiring states to create exchanges (including online platforms for consumers to compare insurance policies) and by requiring providers to use electronic medical records.
While these are huge advances, they assume that patients and providers all have reliable and fast Internet access that allows them to take advantage of a modernized health-care system. Unfortunately, that is not the case for millions of people in this country, especially in rural communities. What’s more, as new health-care policies encourage health-care providers to move more and more personal information online, millions of Americans are left vulnerable to privacy violations because the U.S. lacks comprehensive privacy protections.