ARTICLE
5 December 2013

mHealth App Use: Is Data Truly Protected?

DM
Duane Morris LLP

Contributor

Duane Morris LLP, a law firm with more than 800 attorneys in offices across the United States and internationally, is asked by a broad array of clients to provide innovative solutions to today's legal and business challenges.
One of the reasons why consumers, healthcare providers, investors, the government and others have been slow to adopt mobile health applications and software (apps), are concerns about the privacy and security of data collected through the apps.
United States Food, Drugs, Healthcare, Life Sciences
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One of the reasons why consumers, healthcare providers, investors, the government and others have been slow to adopt mobile health applications and software (apps), are concerns about the privacy and security of data collected through the apps. For instance, Appthority, a service provider that offers an app risk management solution, recently reported that the iPharmacy Drug Guide and Pill ID app "is playing fast and loose with your personal info." www.appthority.com/news/mobile-threat-monday-android-app-leaks-your-medical-info-online. iPharmacy is a free app that allows consumers to maintain a personal health record on their prescription drugs, look up information on a drug, provide reminders, and maintain pharmacy discount cards. Appthority found that while the app description states that it encrypts personal information, it only uses a common encoding scheme and does not protect user info when the consumer searches for information about a drug through the app. Appthority also claims that the app sends personal information to advertising networks. Another example of a legitimate privacy and security concern relates to cloud storage. Many mHealth apps collect physiological data through sensors affixed to the body, store the data in the cloud, and provide the data to a physician or other provider. If the cloud storage vendor does not provide adequate security protections, the provider could be implicated as a party to the app's use. mHealth apps offer tremendous opportunities to advance a more sophisticated and connected healthcare environment – but the modes of connection need to be solid from a data protection perspective. Good risk management is key.

This article is for general information and does not include full legal analysis of the matters presented. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The description of the results of any specific case or transaction contained herein does not mean or suggest that similar results can or could be obtained in any other matter. Each legal matter should be considered to be unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the authors or attorneys in our firm is not a solicitation to provide professional services and should not be construed as a statement as to any availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction in which such attorney is not permitted to practice.

Duane Morris LLP, a full-service law firm with more than 700 attorneys in 24 offices in the United States and internationally, offers innovative solutions to the legal and business challenges presented by today's evolving global markets. Duane Morris LLP, a full-service law firm with more than 700 attorneys in 24 offices in the United States and internationally, offers innovative solutions to the legal and business challenges presented by today's evolving global markets. The Duane Morris Institute provides training workshops for HR professionals, in-house counsel, benefits administrators and senior managers.

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