Sunday, March 22, 2020

HIPAA, Data and COVID-19 (Corona Virus)

 As COVID-19 takes a strangle hold on the world, its no surprise that it's not the religious leaders, or political leadership or super star athletes or actors or even rock stars that are trying to defend the masses against this deadly and seemingly unstoppable virus. Its the lowly paid, totally overlooked STEM majors. Yes, the boring STEM - which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics streams. So, if you are thinking of joining university/college or are actively undergoing the rigorous STEM school programs, keep your chin up. You will be the last line of defense against a new pandemic in 10, 20, 40 years from now. Hopefully, this never happens but you never know. As some say - History repeats itself.

I am hoping that the policy makers and top level business decision makers would make permanent changes in the way we reward the STEM folks to attract the best talent and retain them in STEM job profiles. And for the average joe on the street, take a moment and realize that it is not the sports millionaires, and business tycoons that deserve your admiration but rather the nerd in the lab toiling late in the night trying to understand the strain of a new virus or developing a new molecule that could be used in a medicine that yet does not exist.

Data is the secret sauce that makes STEM work. My call to the STEM professionals is to cut the bureaucratic tape and push back against meaningless and totally unnecessary data "protection" standards that just make data sharing cumbersome and in some cases criminal to do. HIPAA comes to mind - A totally draconian law that is done more to damage the health care sector than to help it. I am sure this is controversial but if there is time to think out of the box it is now. If we do not do that now, we will never do it.

Recommend this post for further reading and Stay safe everyone!