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'appy to compromise your privacy? ... be PCOS App aware...




Health apps have grown exponentially in recent times. It goes without saying many people find apps useful and they encompass a vast range of functions, from managing health conditions to symptom checking and menstrual tracking.


People are much less aware of the risk to privacy regarding mobile health apps. Problems can arise in terms of data privacy because of the sensitive information you make available to them. Its important to remember when signing up that many of these apps are based on a business model centred on selling subscriptions or sharing your data. Despite attempts by regulators to control and enforce a basic baseline of privacy protection and patient rights, there can be a lack of protection and regulation is difficult to enforce.


A recent study found that 88% of mHealth apps included could access and potentially share personal data. The authors reported that data collection in the study was not transparent and secure and often went beyond data that app developers publicly disclose [1]. Mobile health or mHealth and particularly FemTech is a booming market targeting not only patients but also clinicians, making PCOS patients a clear potential market.


Given the lack of transparency, it is worth considering your privacy when you sign up for any of the PCOS apps because no doubt you are sharing sensitive and very personal information. Ask questions, research it and find out all the information in advance before you share. That way you know your information is protected and won’t be used without your authority or transferred to an external recipient. Stay safe.


© PCOS Vitality


DISCLAIMER: Not medical advice. PCOS Vitality does not recommend any particular course of action. All information correct at time of press.


References


[1] G. Tangari, M. Ikram, K. Ijaz, M.A. Kaafar, S. Berkovsky, Mobile health and privacy: cross sectional study, (n.d.). https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n1248.

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