and stored, while continuing to deal with longstanding issues like
interoperability. 19 Different federal agencies each play a role in regulating
health information itself and the mechanisms that collect, transmit, and utilize
this data. 20 This diffusion across the federal government means that providers
must follow multiple agencies for policy updates: for example, within the
United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office
of the National Coordinator sets interoperability standards and certifies
health information technology, 21 the Health Resources and Services
Administration provides grants to rural providers and technical assistance
centers, 22 and the Office of Civil Rights monitors violations of patient
privacy; 23 outside HHS, the Federal Trade Commission plays a role in
ensuring the safety of mobile health applications, 24 and both the Federal
Communications Commission25 and the United States Department of
Agriculture fund telehealth and infrastructure to connect rural providers with
providers in other parts of the country. 26 Thus, a provider that wants to
communicate with its patients electronically will face different compliance
issues depending on the modes of electronic communication, the types of
devices that the patient uses to communicate, and how information gleaned
from such communications will be secured and treated.
How we share data across borders is even more in flux not only due to
barriers around interoperability but also around ensuring the privacy and
security of patients’ and consumers’ health data. 27 As more health data is
19. See Richard Adler, Rethinking Communications Regulation, THE ASPEN
INSTITUTE (2013), https://assets.aspeninstitute.org/content/uploads/files/content/upload/Rethi
nking-Communications-Regulation.pdf (discussing the challenges facing policymakers in
regards to making new IT communications regulations); see also WORLD ECONOMIC
FORUM, THE GLOBAL INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY REPORT (Soumitra Dutta &
Beñat Bilbao-Osorio, eds., 2012), http://www3.weforum.org/docs/Global_IT_Report_
2012.pdf (outlining interoperability at a global level).
20. See CRS Memorandum, supra note 14 (discussing selected telehealth and
21. About ONC, OFF.NA T’L COORDINATOR FOR HEALTH INFO. TECH., https://www.
healthit.gov/newsroom/about-onc (last updated May 12, 2016).
22. Telehealth Programs, HEALTH RES. & SERVS. ADMIN. (2015), http://www.hrsa.gov/
23. About Us, OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS, U.S. DEP’T HEALTH & HUMAN SERVS.,
http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/about-us/index.html (last visited Nov. 18, 2016).
24. Press Release, Fed. Trade Comm’n, FTC Releases New Guidance For Developers of
Mobile Health Apps (Apr. 5, 2016) (on file with the author) https://www.ftc.gov/news-
25.Th e Connect2HealthFCC Task Force, FED. COMMC’NS COMM’N (2016), https://www.
26. Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants, U.S. DEP’T OF AGRIC., http://www.rd.
usda.gov/programs-services/distance-learning-telemedicine-grants (last visited Nov. 18,
27. THE GLOBAL INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY REPORT, supra note 19, at v.