Prof. Hoffman discusses concerns about algorithms predicting opioid abuse with Politico

Co-Director of the Law-Medicine Center Professor Sharona Hoffman

Companies are beginning to sell information about patients' risk of opioid addiction to health care professionals and hospitals, according to the article "How your health information is sold and turned into 'risk scores'" by Mohana Ravindranath of Politico.   

Professor Sharona Hoffman, Co-Director of the Law-Medicine Center, explains that there is no guarantee of the accuracy of these so-called "risk scores," and no protection against them either.  

Another key challenge, the article states, is ensuring that the predictions don’t reinforce biases, and it’s difficult to imagine what protections against the misuse of the algorithms would look like, according to Hoffman. 

Algorithms predicting health risk are likely “the way of the future,” Hoffman said. “I’m afraid we need to learn to live with them" but she believes we need to think about ways the law can offer further protection to patients. 

Hoffman's areas of expertise in health law include the use of big data in the health care industry. She is the author of Electronic Health Records and Medical Big Data: Law and Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2016).