Practice Fusion is an electronic health record platform that is used by doctors and patients to handle a variety of healthcare related activities. The company was charged by the FTC with violating privacy information used on the site, and they have now settled with the company. The company ran into the trouble because they were soliciting user reviews, but then publishing them without redacting their personal information (name, location, ect) without explicitly getting permission.
Jessica Rich, who is the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said of the issue, “Practice Fusion’s actions led consumers to share incredibly sensitive health information without realizing it would be made public. Companies that collect personal health information must be clear about how they will use it – especially before posting such information publically on the internet.”
The settlement, Practice Fusion is prohibited from doing anything that may misrepresent the extent to which they will use patient information. They also agreed to be closely monitored by the FTC for 20 years, and will be subject to fines of $40,000 for each future violation of the order.
This is a good warning for all marketers that even if they voluntarily collect user reviews, they must still be careful about how that information is used and what personal data is revealed to the public.