Google, U Chicago move to dismiss lawsuit over patient data sharing

University of Chicago Medical Center and Google filed motions to dismiss a class-action lawsuit that alleges the hospital violated HIPAA by sharing thousands of patients' health records with the technology giant without properly de-identifying the data, Gov Info Security reports.

In the June 26 lawsuit, the plaintiff, a former University of Chicago Medical Center patient, claims the hospital and Google violated HIPAA because patient records exchanged, in support of Google's predictive medical data analytics technology research and development, included date stamps of when patients checked in and out of the hospital as well as physicians' notes.

In their motions to dismiss the lawsuit, University of Chicago and Google contend they used secure and HIPAA-compliant data sharing methods. They also allege the plaintiff does not claim "Google actually identified him or anyone in the class he seeks to represent, but rather 'merely claims Google has the technological capability of doing so,'" according to the report.

Google and University of Chicago further claim that even if the plaintiff had grounds for a lawsuit, the complaint should be dismissed because under HIPAA there is no private right of legal action.

The organizations also stated that because the plaintiff voluntarily gave his medical data to University of Chicago, his allegation of "intrusion" falls under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act rather than HIPAA, the publication reports.

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