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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Future of Health App Privacy

The comment period recently closed on the FTC's proposed changes to the Health Breach Notification Rule. This proposed rule would clarify the commission's ability to regulate digital health companies and how they use health data. Essentially, the FTC is trying to fill in gaps between HIPAA's privacy law, and the world of apps and data use cases outside of HIPAA. Considering that the U.S. (still) does not have a federal privacy law in place, and many states have recently created their own privacy laws touching on health apps and data, this is not a small feat for the FTC to address. A particular area of concern involves women's health data. The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on Roe vs Wade - and subsequent state laws restricting abortion - has placed increased focus on how and where data from health and wellness apps could potentially track women seeking abortion-related services.

Today's article in STAT News provides a thoughtful overview of the proposed rule and some of the industry comments received.

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