3 ways to prevent third parties from tracking health data online

Consumers' personal health information is vulnerable to access by third-party companies that track healthcare websites yet do not obtain direct consent from the individuals, according to a Dec.2 Tech Radar report.  

In July, the Washington Post reported that Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browser extensions were used to collect and sell users' personal information from more than 50 companies, including EHR vendors DrChrono and Kareo. Consumer data exposed included patient names, physician names and medications.

Information extracted from third-party healthcare websites can potentially be used against consumers in various ways, including price discrimination, service denials and employment discrimination, according to the report.

Three ways to prohibit third parties from tracking health data:

1. Use an internet browser that features privacy protections, such as blocking tracking and identifying companies that try to record browser activity without the individual's consent.

2. Update the browser's privacy protections to perform functions such as blocking fingerprinting.

3. Leverage tracking protection tools such as social media trackers, cross-site tracking cookies and cryptominers on all websites.

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