OIG: Two VA Employees Concealed Privacy and Security Risks of a Big Data Project

HIPAA Journal

Steve Alder

Two members of the Department of Veteran Affairs’ (VA) information technology staff are alleged to have made false representations about the privacy and security risks of a big data AI project between the VA and a private company that would have seen the private and confidential health data of tens of millions of veterans fed into the AI system.

An administrative investigation was conducted by the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) into a potential conflict of interest related to a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) between the VA and a private company in 2016.

The purpose of the collaboration was to improve the health and wellness of veterans using AI and deep learning technology developed by Flow Health. The project aimed to identify common elements that make people susceptible to disease, identify potential treatments and possible side effects to inform care decisions and to improve the accuracy of diagnoses.

The CRADA would have resulted in...

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