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HIT ConsultantWhistleblower Calls for Action Against 22 Digital Health Providers After FTC Busts Monument Inc.

Broader FTC Scrutiny Suggested Following Monument Inc. Data Misuse

The recent actions taken by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against Monument Inc. for improper data sharing practices have ignited calls for comprehensive regulatory oversight. A whistleblower’s revelations have prompted a push for the FTC to extend investigations to 22 additional digital health providers, spotlighting the ongoing vulnerabilities in patient data privacy within the digital health sector.

Key Points:

  • Whistleblower Aid, a non-profit organization, is advocating for the FTC to investigate 22 digital health providers following a significant breach of privacy by Monument Inc.
  • Monument Inc. was found to have shared sensitive information of over 84,000 patients receiving opioid addiction treatment with third-party advertisers such as Meta and Google.
  • This breach occurred between 2020 and 2022 and involved the sharing of data that patients had been assured would remain confidential.
  • The FTC has banned Monument Inc. from sharing patient data with advertisers and has imposed a data deletion requirement and a necessity for explicit patient consent prior to data sharing.
  • The potential consequences for the other 22 providers, if found guilty, could include similar bans on data sharing, requirements for data deletion, obtaining patient consent, and possible financial penalties, including substantial fines.
  • The case raises concerns about the broader implications for patient rights, highlighting the risks to housing, employment, and other human rights due to exposure of sensitive health data.

In 2023, 725 data breaches were reported to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and across those breaches, more than 133 million records were exposed or impermissibly disclosed. (The HIPAA Journal)

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