Employers with workers in Massachusetts will have a lot to do between now and October 1, 2018, when reforms to Massachusetts non-compete laws go into effect.  Our colleagues Katharine Beattie and Jennifer Budoff have covered the changes (and necessary action items for employers) on Mintz’s Employment Law Matters Blog.  From health systems to technology start-ups, these changes require employers to evaluate their approach to non-competes with their employees and to ensure compliant practices in agreements signed after the law’s effective date.  Notably, the law does not impact the separate Massachusetts laws that prohibit non-competition restrictions for certain health professionals.  You can read the full post here.

Privacy and security compliance obligations for health care companies remain hot topics this spring. Health care companies must now contend with data breach laws in all 50 states as well as keeping on top of federal HIPAA developments.

New Colorado Data Breach Law

Our Privacy and Security colleagues recently blogged about a new Colorado law that imposes strict requirements on entities that maintain, own, or license personal identifying information of Colorado residents. The law broadly defines “personal identifying information” as a Social Security number; a person identification number; a password or passcode; a driver’s license or identification card number; a passport number; biometric data; an employer, student, or military identification number; or a financial transaction device. In addition, the law requires entities to report breaches of such data within 30 days of discovery.

Continue Reading Privacy and Security Round-up – Colorado Data Breach Law, Guidance from OCR

Earlier this week, our colleague Don Davis addressed the increasing amount of disability discrimination litigation against health care entities on the Employment Matters Blog. In the blog post, Don provides an overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA), describes employment disability discrimination litigation and enforcement trends in the health care industry, and highlights the recent spike in accessibility-related litigation (including issues related to both facility accessibility and website accessibility).

The full post is available here.

Given the uncertainty in reimbursement from private insurance and government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, it is important early on to consider how best to land and leverage relationships with key customers and strategic partners. As a start-up company, getting a strategic deal with a name-brand company is an excellent means to validate your technology. How do you take advantage of that opportunity, but not give away too much? This final installment in our blog series will suggest some best practices for negotiating these early stage strategic relationships. Continue Reading Building a Health App? Part 7: Commercialization and Strategic Partners

Consumers are increasingly turning to health apps for a variety of medical and wellness-related purposes. This has in turn caused greater amounts of data—including highly sensitive information—to flow through these apps. These data troves can trigger significant compliance responsibilities for the app developer, along with significant legal and contractual risk. This latest installment in our health app series will introduce some of these considerations, including approaches that developers can take to minimize their risk. Continue Reading Building a Health App? Part 6: HIPAA and Other Privacy and Security Considerations

As you take your health app from innovative idea to reality, you will be engaging in a development project that will likely entail the procurement of technology, services and perhaps even content from third parties. For example, you may hire an app developer. Or perhaps you will take advantage of a cloud-based hosting platform that enables you to build a secure health app leveraging a third party’s infrastructure, such as Amazon or Google. Perhaps your app will integrate patient education content from a medical publisher or rely on analytics from an industry data aggregator. Careful contracting with third parties who provide these services and components will be critical to your health app’s success.  This fifth installment of our series will outline contracting principles for the construction of a health app. Continue Reading Building a Health App? Part 5: Contracting for Health App Construction

The market for apps designed to improve health and wellness or even to diagnose and treat medical conditions continues to grow.  Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”)  approved a new smartphone-based “carbon monoxide breath sensor system” that measures carbon monoxide levels on a user’s breath. The sensor, which is intended to help users quit smoking, tracks the real time effects of a user’s smoking behavior.  And just a few weeks ago, the FDA gave its approval to a cognitive behavioral therapy app to be used in outpatient therapy for substance use disorders related to alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and stimulants.  Continue Reading Building a Health App? Part 4: Avoiding an FTC Enforcement Action

This is our third installment in our series about the legal issues involved in launching a health app, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) refers to as “mobile apps.” The goal of this post is to provide you with a basic understanding of FDA’s evolving approach to mobile apps so that you can make informed decisions about the legal consequences of your app’s functionality. Continue Reading Building a Health App? Part 3: What You Need to Know About FDA’s Regulation of Mobile Apps

This post is the second in a series of weekly blog posts covering legal issues for consideration during the early stages of development of a health app and providing best practices to help guide you through a successful launch. Consideration of intellectual property (IP) protection early in the development of a health app is important.  Otherwise you could lose the opportunity to do so in the future or be forced to change the name or other details of your app after you have already invested time and money in the app.

Continue Reading Building a Health App? Part 2: Protecting Your Intellectual Property

Last week, Apple announced the new Apple Watch Series 3 which will feature an enhanced heart rate app.  The app will notify you when it detects an elevated heart rate even when you are not working out.  The sensor will also be able to analyze cardiac arrhythmia. According to one estimate, 165,000 health-related apps were available for Apple or Android smartphones last year. Forecasts predict that such apps will be downloaded 1.7 billion times by 2017.  Without a doubt, health apps are turning into a big business presenting not only an opportunity for financial success but the potential to impact the health and wellness of millions of consumers.  The success of a health app will depend on careful consideration of some key legal issues during the early stages of development.  In a series of weekly blog posts, we will cover these issues and provide best practices to help guide you through the successful launch of your health app.  Below is a preview of what this series will cover.    Continue Reading Building a Health App? What You Need to Know