FTC, HHS warn hospitals over use of online tracking tech


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Health and Human Services sent letters to approximately 130 hospital systems and telehealth providers regarding potential patient privacy violations and security risks stemming from online tracking technologies.

The use of technology such as the Meta pixel code snippet or Google Analytics could “gather identifiable information about users, usually without their knowledge and in ways that are hard for users to avoid, as users interact with a website or mobile app,” said the agencies in a joint press release Thursday.

Unauthorized disclosure of an individual’s personal health information to third parties could violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, while companies not covered by HIPAA still have a responsibility to protect against such disclosure under laws including the FTC Act and Health Breach Notification Rule, the agencies warned.

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