Sunday, March 08, 2015

Medscape Issues a Non-Private Privacy Update

With physicians increasingly turning to news aggregators to keep up with medical news and developments, physicians' eyes have become Big Business.

So has sharing their information.

Medscape (a division of WebMD) recently sent all of its registered users an update of their "privacy" policy (By the way, check to see if a "cookie" considers you already "logged on" when you view this policy webpage).

Here's my summary take:

Nothing physicians do with Medscape/ websites is private and, in fact, our data (including license information) is being shared with just about anyone willing to pay for the data.

Medscape, ironically the same institution charged with managing continuing medical education for the Health and Human Services HIPAA policy, wants to collect physician license information from "third parties," track what doctors are viewing and interacting with on their website, then share this data to anyone willing to pay them a pretty penny.  In fact, we should take special notice of the section entitled "Disclosure of Your Information to Third Parties."

I was particularly interested in the the Companies and People Who Work For Us subsection:
In addition, if you are a healthcare professional, we may request that a third party validate your licensure status and other information against available databases of healthcare professionals. In order to provide these services, we may provide these other companies with Personal Information we maintain about users of our Services. We require that all such companies agree that they will limit their use of your Personal Information to fulfilling their responsibilities to us. (Emphasis mine)
Such a friendly two-way give and take of our information! (Remember that practice information you were recently asked to supply to the American Board of Internal Medicine?)

Privacy?  What privacy? 


h/t Mr. Larry Husten


Anonymous said...

How much money did they receive from HHS to promote Obamacare?

DrWes said...

Anony -

One source noted WebMD pocketed at least $4.8 million to promote Obamacare.

drbob said...

Wonder what Digital Medicine Maven Dr. Topol (also Editor of Medscape) thinks about this?