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What We’re Reading: Mandatory Respiratory Disease Reporting Ends; Long COVID Care Barriers; Regulations on Health App Data

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End of reporting mandate signals shift in real-time tracking of airborne pathogens; high rates of psychiatric conditions seen among patients with long COVID; new rule reinforces notification requirements for digital health records and apps.

Hospitals End Mandatory Reporting on Respiratory Diseases

As of May 1, 2024, hospitals in the US are no longer required to report data on admissions, occupancy, and other indicators related to respiratory diseases to federal officials, marking a shift in the government's surveillance efforts post-pandemic, according to Axios. While COVID-19 hospitalizations have reached their lowest levels since the outbreak's onset, the emergence of the KP.2 variant highlights the ongoing need for vigilance. Although reporting remains optional, the end of mandatory reporting has raised questions about ongoing disease monitoring and response strategies, particularly as health systems adapt to new service models.

Cost Barriers to Mental Health Care Identified for Individuals With Long COVID

A recent study shed light on the mental health challenges faced by individuals with long COVID in the US, according to Cidrap. While these patients exhibited higher rates of depression, anxiety, and other symptoms compared with those without long COVID, many also cited cost as a significant barrier to seeking mental health care. The findings underscored the importance of addressing access barriers and implementing screening strategies in health care settings to better support the mental health needs of those with long COVID.

FTC Tightens Regulations on Health App Data Sharing to Safeguard Consumer Privacy

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has finalized a rule aimed at enhancing oversight of digital health apps sharing sensitive medical data with tech companies, according to Fierce Healthcare. The Health Breach Notification Rule (HBNR) mandated vendors of digital health records, including health apps, to notify individuals and the FTC of breaches involving personally identifiable health data. With the proliferation of health apps and wearable devices, the updated rule seeks to keep pace with evolving health technologies and protect consumers' sensitive health information.

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