Data breaches can occur in any industry, but those that involve medical information create unique problems. Starting January 1, they also will carry unique penalties, at least in California. The new California laws, Senate Bill 541 (SB 541) and Assembly Bill 211 (AB 211).

Health care providers clearly need to take heed of the laws' directives that they take additional affirmative steps to prevent “unauthorized access” to patient information. But AB 211 is particularly broad in scope, covering “any person or entity" that "negligently discloses" or "knowingly or willfully obtains, discloses, or uses medical information," which mean other players in the life sciences industry probably should take note as well. A full discussion of SB 541 and AB 211, written by Janet H. Kwuon and Rachel A. Rubin, is here.