A National Registry of COVID-19 Patients: The Legal Implications


Medical data companies are reportedly volunteering to join the fight against COVID-19 by offering to broadly share confidential, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-protected patient medical information they possess, including patient demographics, symptoms, testing results, treatment, and outcomes. The creation of a national repository of health-related information and a potential registry of COVID-19 patients and patient information for use by government agencies and healthcare researchers would be without precedent. The privacy issues and concerns implicated by such sharing, while significant, are being considered in the greater context of a worldwide state of medical emergency and the need for medical and demographic data evaluation and research studies.