fbpx FTC Proposes BetterHelp to Stop Revealing Sensitive Information -

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On March 2, the Federal Trade Commission released the details of a proposed order banning BetterHelp, Inc. from sharing sensitive information about their consumer’s mental health challenges to companies for advertising purposes. Recipients of this sensitive consumer information include Facebook, Snapchat, Criteo, and Pinterest. BetterHelp will reportedly be required to pay $7.8 million for “deceiving consumers after promising to keep sensitive personal data private.” 

Unprecedented in telehealth history, the sharing of sensitive health information in early 2023 is poised to shatter provider naivete about working for large-scale business entities entering healthcare. The issue isn’t limited to BetterHelp, though. Last week’s Betterhelp ban follows on the heels of Telehealth.org’s February announcement of 1) an FTC crackdown on GoodRX and 2) inquiries by a bi-partisan group of US Senators of telehealth companies Monument, Workit Health and Cerebral for failure to protect their patient’s sensitive health data by sharing it with marketing websites. Telehealth.org readers will also recall the January 4 research report titled, Some Telehealth Platforms Are Tracking Sensitive Patient Data: Are They Violating HIPAA? It showed how 49 or 50 telehealth platforms investigated by researchers shared sensitive healthcare data with marketing companies. Sharing sensitive consumer data with marketing companies for financial gain seems to have become the norm.

Is the FTC Making an Example of BetterHelp?

However serious previous complaints of sharing sensitive consumer data, this is the first Commission action asking a telehealth company to return consumer funds for intentionally-compromised health data. Rather than simply summarizing the FTC announcement, relevant portions have been excerpted from the supporting documents linked from the proposed order to answer likely questions by Telehealth.org’s healthcare…

From Telebehavioral Health Institute – Read More

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