KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Legal, Ethical Concerns Arise Over Mandated On-The-Job Wearables

As they gain prominence, wearable devices -- and the health data that comes with them -- are provoking questions about how much information employers can collect and just what they can do with it. In other technology news, New York is going all digital when it comes to writing prescriptions.

The Wall Street Journal: As Wearables In Workplace Spread, So Do Legal Concerns
Wearable devices, like the Fitbits and Apple Watches sported by runners and early adopters, are fast becoming tools in the workplace. These devices offer employers new ways to measure productivity and safety, and give insurers the ability to track workers’ health indicators and habits. For companies with large workforces, the prospect of tracking people’s whereabouts and productivity can be welcome. But collecting data on employees’ health and their physical movement can trigger a host of potential ethical and legal headaches for employers. (Haggin, 3/13)

The New York Times: New York To Discard Prescription Pads, And Doctors’ Handwriting, In Digital Shift
Starting on March 27, the way prescriptions are written in New York State will change. Gone will be doctors’ prescription pads and famously bad handwriting. In their place: pointing and clicking, as prescriptions are created electronically and zapped straight to pharmacies in all but the most exceptional circumstances. New York is the first state to require that all prescriptions be created electronically and to back up that mandate with penalties, including fines and imprisonment, for physicians who fail to comply. Minnesota has a law requiring electronic prescribing but does not penalize doctors who cling to pen and paper. (Otterman, 3/14)

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