Telehealth startups share patient data with big tech companies

Telehealth startups offering private, on-demand virtual care have been sharing some of the sensitive information gathered during a patient's intake and checkout process with big tech companies, TheMarkup reported Dec. 13. 

TheMarkup analyzed 50 direct-to-consumer telehealth companies and found that at least 49 of them leaked sensitive medical information they collect to the world's largest advertising platforms.

Four other key things to know:

  1. On 13 of the 50 websites, at least one tracker from Meta, Google, TikTok, Bing, Snap, Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest collected patients' answers to medical intake questions.

  2. Trackers on 25 sites told at least one big tech platform that the user had added an item like a prescription medication to their cart or checked out with a subscription for a treatment plan.

  3. All but one website examined sent URLs users visited on the site and their IP addresses to at least one tech company.

  4. Amazon Clinic was the only telehealth company that did not share data with other tech companies. 

Dale Hogan, a spokesperson for Facebook parent company Meta, told TheMarkup that advertisers "should not send sensitive information about people through our Business Tools." 

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