The private medical information of hundreds of HealthEngine app users have been recently given to various Australian law firms for pursuing clients for personal injury cases.
The Perth-based startup claims that it only shares information with users’ consent but it has bragged to its advertisers that they can customize advertising based on the patients’ symptoms.
Secret documents from the multinational law firm Slater and Gordon exposed that HealthEngine was conveying the personal medical information of an average of 200 clients per month to the firm so they could have a list of potential clients, the ABC reported.
This was supposedly a part of a “referral partnership pilot” that began last year.
The app which is part-owned by Seven West Media and Telstra instructed their users to incorporate specific details regarding their medical conditions and to indicate if they have sustained injuries due to a traffic or workplace accident.
The company claimed it was a part of the appointment booking process to set users up with different types of physicians ranging from GPs to physiotherapists.
Slater and Gordon have issued a statement saying that it was “committed to creating mechanisms for Australians to access justice.”
“We are proactive in ensuring that any marketing we undertake is compliant with applicable laws and confident that it meets the highest ethical standards.”
HealthEngine have also released a statement saying that the company used advertising to “deliver relevant and timely information from our many different advertising partners to our users”.
This is not the first time that HealthEngine has been in trouble due to its questionable practices.
Fairfax Media uncovered earlier this month that the company was intentionally altering negative reviews of doctors created by patients to make them look more positive.
After this disclosure, HealthEngine immediately issued an apology and removed the reviews completely from its services.