98% of US hospital websites share patient data with third-parties

Almost all U.S. hospital websites are sending patient data to third-party companies such as Alphabet, Meta and Adobe, SC Media reported April 3. 

The report cited an April 3 study published in Health Affairs in which researchers analyzed 6,162 U.S. hospital and health system websites, including 3,747 identified non-federal acute care hospitals with websites, and found that 98.6 percent of them sent sensitive health information to third parties. 

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, received 98.5 percent of patient data transfers, followed by Meta which received 55.6 percent of all third-party transfers. 

Adobe Systems also received 31.4 percent of third-party data transfers and AT&T received 24.6 percent of all data transfers. 

The researchers also found that 69 percent of all U.S. hospital homepages transferred data to third parties. 

U.S. hospital and health system homepages had a median of 16 third-party data transfers.

The transfers were the highest among medium-sized hospitals, nonprofit hospitals, urban hospitals and health system-affiliated hospitals. 

This comes as 14 hospitals and health systems across the U.S. are facing lawsuits that allege that their websites have embedded pixel tracking tools that send patient information to Meta, Facebook and Google.

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