Research reveals how common online health marketing practices may violate patient privacy

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was passed in 1996 to protect sensitive protected health information (PHI) from being disclosed without patient consent. But a study published August 15 in the journal Patterns shows that some PHI is not as secure as expected. Researchers reviewed the tactics of five digital medicine companies and the actions of cross-site tracking software to demonstrate how browsing data related to health topics is shared with Facebook for lead generation and advertising purposes.

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