App privacy is a crucial aspect to consider when utilizing mental health apps. However, a recent study by researchers Camacho, Cohen and Torous and published in JAMA Network Open showed no correlation between app privacy scores and consumer ratings. The study reviewed 578 mental health apps, examining various features including privacy. These findings highlight the importance for professionals to carefully evaluate and consider the privacy and accessibility of mental health apps before suggesting them for mental health support. The article below is a continuation of Therapy Apps – research into Mental Health Apps, Part I.
Insights Into Mental Health App Privacy Policies
The study has revealed some key findings concerning the privacy and features of these apps:
The study found that, on average, the privacy policies that were present were written in at a 12th-grade reading comprehension level. This is concerning to supporters of the plain language community because the average reading level in the United States is 7-8-th grade. The finding suggests then, that many people will not understand the privacy implications of the apps used to track their behavioral health information.
The study also looked at the sharing of personal information with third parties. It was found that 44% of the apps shared personal health information (PHI), demographic data, and medical histories with third parties. This means that a significant portion of the apps shared sensitive information without their users’ explicit consent.
The study scraped and collected data from app vendors, analyzing the privacy scores of apps on the App Store and Google Play Store. The findings showed no significant correlation between privacy scores and the number of downloads on the Apple App Store. However, the…
From Telebehavioral Health Institute – Read More