(HealthDay News) — Most health-related mobile applications (mHealth apps) contain code that could potentially collect user data, according to a study published online in The BMJ.
Gioacchino Tangari, PhD, from Macquarie University in Sydney, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study to examine whether and what user data are collected by mHealth apps and to assess associated risks to privacy. Data were included for users of 20,991 mHealth apps. In-depth analysis was performed on 15,838 mHealth apps that were free to download. These apps were compared to 8468 non-mHealth apps.
“Such privacy risks should be articulated to patients and could be made part of app usage consent,” the authors write. “We believe the trade-off between the benefits and risks of mHealth apps should be considered for any technical and policy discussion surrounding the services provided by such apps.”