Some legal and organizational heavyweights have partnered to better understand the issues surrounding mobile health privacy and security policies and to identify gaps before scaling mHealth globally. Law firm Baker & McKenzie, Merck, the mHealth Alliance and the Thomson Reuters Foundation are tackling two of the top barriers to the expansion of mHealth, as outlined in a 2011 World Health Organization report, namely data privacy and security and the protection of individual health information.
"The first step is to take stock of the current policy landscape to assess what is working and what more needs to be done," Patricia Mechael, executive director of the mHealth Alliance, said in a written statement. The four partners will research and analyze the status of policies, laws and standards in seven countries where mHealth programs are underway--Bangladesh, Chile, India, Nigeria, Peru, Tanzania and Uganda. In 2013, the partners will release the policy landscape analysis, outline best practices and recommend steps to close policy gaps in the ethical and secure use of mHealth data. Statement