Skip to Main Content

As digital health tools proliferate, health data experts are raising a new round of alarms about the need to educate consumers about data privacy until legislative protections catch up.

The pandemic has sidelined many in-person visits, driving flocks of potential new users toward mental health apps, virtual visits, and other digital tools to manage their care. But consumers are often unaware that the rules that govern health data privacy in hospitals don’t extend to these sprawling, digital territories — each of which can effectively enforce its own policies around how to handle sensitive data, experts said.


“It’s definitely the wild west,” said Kenneth Mandl, director of the Intelligent Health Laboratory in Boston Children’s Hospital Informatics Program, at the Federal Trade Commission’s PrivacyCon event Tuesday.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!