SAN FRANCISCO - Labor leaders demonstrated Tuesday against a deal that would see Amazon buying health care provider One Medical. Labor leaders and privacy advocates are worried the deal could impact patient care and patient privacy.
Union workers marched through the streets of San Francisco's Financial District, speaking out about Amazon's $4 billion purchase of One Medical. Amber Baur from United Food and Commercial Workers Western State Council says there are twin concerns, patient care and patient privacy.
Baur says even with guardrails in place, Amazon could find a way of gaining access to patient data, which she says the company is really after. HIPAA protects patient information," said Baur. "But, of course but of course, if they opt in for that, there's ways to use that in marketing, and we know that Amazon cares most about that consumer data. It's why they're in all these sectors."
Labor is not alone in these concerns. The Electronic Frontier Foundation also has privacy concerns, saying Amazon's business model is predicated on gathering vast amounts of data on customers to use for marketing. "For them to move into the health care field means there's going to be pressure to further narrow and push aside some of the medical privacy rules that already exist," said Mitch Stoltz from EFF.
In a statement Amazon said it will essentially silo any patient information, saying as required by law it will never share one medical customers personal health information outside of One Medical for advertising or marketing purposes or other Amazon products without clear permission from patients.
For its part, One Medical said it is committed to protecting patient privacy as well. The health care provider saying customers’ HIPAA protected health information will be handled separately from all other Amazon business, as required by law.
The $4 billion acquisition still has to be approved by share-holders and regulators.