VIDEO: Expect More Health Data Privacy, Security Litigation


By Jimmy H. Koo

Data breaches, directors and officers liability, and web-connected devices will be hot areas in health privacy and data security litigation, Elliot Golding, a data privacy and cybersecurity partner at Squire Patton Boggs in Washington, told Bloomberg BNA in a video interview.

Federal regulatory enforcement in the health-care sector will likely focus on risk analysis, employee training, encrypting data, and entering into business associate agreements, Golding said.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides privacy and security protection for health data and is enforced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR). According to Golding, OCR has been shifting from an “education bend” to an “enforcement bend.” There have been more than 50 privacy and security settlements, with nine settlements in 2017 alone, and most settlements involve more than $1 million, he said.

The proliferation of internet of things (IoT) devices has increased the attack surface for hacking and other cybersecurity threats, he said. “Security is only as good as the weakest link,” Golding said.

Going forward, HHS will likely focus on IoT cybersecurity, he said, and it is only a matter time before IoT-related privacy and security cases dominate the time of the health-care industry.

Companies should have a good data security incident response plan, train employees, hold tabletop exercises, and closely manage vendors, Golding said. Take the time to understand what vendors are doing, what types of security practices they have, and how they’re going to respond to a security incident, he said.

Health data privacy and security aren’t issues just for the information technology department, he said. They need to be handled at the highest level, including the board, Golding said.

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The full video interview is available at

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