DNA is considered a medically protected part of your body. So you may be wondering, how is my DNA protected? I can fully understand that concern as I have worked in the medical profession all of my adult life. I know that all medical information regarding your body is confidential. Let’s take a look at how we will protect your DNA and your information to keep you safe.
There are several policies and laws in place to protect the privacy of your genomic information. At DNA is The Way, we personally use the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Privacy Rules. We protect our clients’ medical records and other personal health information just as hospitals do.
We discard your sample after 45 days. The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires us to protect the privacy of your personal health information. Without your written authorization, we also cannot use or disclose your information to any party other than myself and the lab.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule gives you control over your health information and sets boundaries on how we may use it. You can hold us accountable if we violate it. You can also examine or obtain a hard copy of your results upon request for a small fee just as the hospitals do with your medical records.
The HIPAA Privacy rule protects your genetic information as well. We respect your privacy. Scientists conducting genomics research are aware that sharing data in databases can advance genomics research, but they are also very much aware of the need to protect your privacy.
At AKESOgen, our trusted DNA laboratory, there is a Privacy and Data Protection policy which involves compliance with the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. Any information about you is de-identified before they receive your samples from us.
Their systems do not contain any data traceable to you. No personal information is received, that will identify who you are. The Privacy Shield Principles limits the use and disclosure of personal data.
We do not disclose any personal information to third parties, nor do we retain any personal data. We do destroy your data after it is processed, but herein lies the problem: your DNA sequence is unique and your DNA sample can, therefore, never be made truly anonymized. For this reason, there are numerous laws in effect to protect you and your uniqueness.
Why DNA Data is important
You have a right to keep your medical information private. Some will argue that your medical data can aid medical research, contributing to the health and well-being of human beings. Some believe granting scientists access to de-identified data may be the way to go, as long as no privacy concerns arise.
Research carried out using your genetic data could produce a lot of social benefits. Some would say that the use of your data can improve the treatments of a life-threatening disease or that they can use it to catch criminals. DNA samples (such as blood or tissue) obtained in clinical settings can be used to conduct genetics research, with the consent of the individual.
However, you must always remember that your genetic information can be misused. An example is a genetic discrimination or surreptitious DNA testing. But the HIPAA laws are here to protect your privacy by restricting the sharing of your medical information.
To sum this up: we here at DNA Is The Way know that there are people out there who are not as honest as our lab and we are. So we go to great lengths to protect you and your data. In no way are you identified with your sample when it reaches the lab. It is like you are doing an anonymous DNA test because your name is not identified on your sample anywhere. You are only known as a number to the lab and the world. And sharing your information is in strict violation with the HIPAA laws and regulations.
How Laws And Policies Help
Other than HIPAA, the Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), Certificates of Confidentiality issued by National Institutes of Health (NIH), The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy also protects your personal health information.
If you do not know much about DNA testing, you may be wondering at this point what these laws and policies are protecting. Well, your medical records (should they include DNA tests) will contain your personal health information, such as predispositions for physical/neurodegenerative diseases and mental illness. It may also contain your medical history, lifestyle, and even related information about your family members.
Do America’s current privacy laws adequately protect your personal health information? The honest answer is no. There are still a lot of requirements that the world needs to act on.
For now, it is up to the companies collecting and handling your genetic information to protect your genetic data. They must create iron-clad privacy policies allowing users to opt-out of data sharing. One such company is AKESOgen, our trusted DNA laboratory, which ensures that your genetic information will remain private and protected.
Can Genetic Information be Misused?
DNA databases have unquestionable benefits, but the potential for misuse of the genetic information contained within them also raises legal, ethical, and philosophical questions.
Could genetic discrimination actually become a reality in the future, or does it lie safely inside science fiction books and movies? Given that genetic misinformation has a history of misuse, we would say “yes.” The American eugenics movement would be an example of such abuse.
There are costs of protecting genetic information.
- Your genetic health risks may also apply to your parents, siblings, and relatives and children
- There are negative impacts on health research. Costs of research increase, and the ability to carry out some of the research has become limited. Some would question if the uneven patchwork of laws and policies that are currently in place are making patient records more secure. We do not have adequate proof to say if this is yea or nay.
The burden remains on the individual because these laws don’t protect the privacy of genetic information in all cases. Lack of blanket privacy protections and legal loopholes contribute to this problem.
But at DNA is the Way, it is always up to you to decide what we do with the information you have given to us. We solemnly promise to use the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule to protect your personal health information.
We wrote this article to help you know what rules and regulations are in place to protect your privacy. We want you to have the knowledge necessary for you to make a well-informed decision about any genetics testing and the companies you choose. Always remember to read the fine print. Make sure your health information is protected.
We here at DNA Is The Way want you to feel secure when you have your DNA tested. Of course, there are no 100% guarantees when it comes to hackers and breaches of the internet. But we can assure you that our trusted laboratory, and DNA Is The Way have all of the necessary steps in place to help protect you.
Now that you know how much we care and what incredible steps we take to protect you and your information it is time to take that step of faith and have your DNA tested. We can help you understand your unique needs to lose weight, defy aging, increase your athletic performance and become healthier with nutrient absorption.
If you have any questions about how we protect you when working with us, ask away below! I would love to hear from you and set your mind at ease. Please leave all comments and questions in the comment section below.
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