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Recent data breach allegation sparks concern

A startup’s medical appointment app has been the subject of recent media attention in relation to allegations that medical information is being forwarded onto law firms seeking clients for personal injury claims.

The ABC reported that the HealthEngine app has funnelled hundreds of users’ private medical information to law firms seeking clients for personal injury claims. The Perth-based startup is part-owned by Telstra and SevenWest Media and is said to have 1.5 million monthly users and 15 million annual users.

HealthEngine’s Founder, CEO & Medical Director, Dr. Marcus Tan has written a statement on the startup’s website responding to ABC’s claims.

“I would like to reassure users that HealthEngine does not provide any personal information to third parties without the express consent of the affected user or in those circumstances described in our privacy policy,” said Tan in the statement.

“We do have referral arrangements in place with a range of industry partners including government, not for profit, medical research, private health insurance and other health service providers on a strictly opt-in basis. These referrals do not occur without the express consent of the user.

“Contrary to the ABC report’s suggestion, consent to these referrals is not hidden in our policies but obtained through a simple pop-up form as part of the booking process  or provided verbally to a HealthEngine consultant. Consent to these referrals is entirely voluntary and opt-in, and we do not provide any personal information for the purposes of a referral without this consent.”

Liam Millner, founder of Australian Accident Helpline, said individuals should never be approached and instructed to make a claim.

“Individuals don’t like being told they should make a claim, it’s invasive and often individuals can feel like they’re being bombarded by law firms and legal jargon,” said Milner.

“These days people like to compare things and make their own decisions, so it’s important individuals are educated or have access to relevant resources.”


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Gali Blacher

Gali Blacher

Gali Blacher, editor, Dynamic Business

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