Healthcare & Pharmacy Meta Pixel Tracking
What Are the Dangers of Hospital and Pharmacy Meta Pixel Tracking?
While Meta pixel tracking can be useful for advertisers to understand user behavior, it can also have negative consequences when used in hospitals. Here are some potential dangers of hospital Meta pixel tracking:
- Breach of patient privacy: If a hospital allows Meta pixel tracking, it may be collecting data on patients’ browsing habits and medical history. This can be a serious violation of patient privacy, as sensitive medical information could be used by third-party advertisers or data brokers without the patient’s consent.
- Manipulation of medical decisions: If hospitals use Meta pixel tracking to serve targeted ads to patients, it could potentially influence their medical decisions. For example, a patient with a chronic condition may be shown ads for a new medication, even if it is not the best treatment option for their specific case.
- Inaccurate data collection: Hospitals may use Meta pixel tracking to collect data on patient behavior and preferences, but this data may not be accurate or representative of the patient population as a whole. This could lead to incorrect assumptions and decisions based on incomplete or biased data.
Patients have rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), a federal law that protects sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without their consent or knowledge. Medical staff are aware of these protections, and must take steps to protect your data in a new digital world.
The FTC and HHS have sent letters to over a hundred hospital systems and telehealth providers to remind them of the privacy and security risks of using online data tracking technology.
The letters specify risks posed by Meta pixel and Google Analytics, which may disclose health conditions, diagnoses, medications, medical treatments, frequency of visits to healthcare professionals and where a patient seeks medical treatment.
At least 20 hospitals, health systems and technology companies have been named defendants in data privacy lawsuits over the past year for allegedly sharing confidential patient information with third parties. It has been reported that 99 percent of hospitals in 2021 used web trackers, according to a study published in April.
A number of class action HIPAA violation lawsuits allege the private medical information of millions of Americans has been illegally shared.
If medical institutions or third-party digital storage they partner with violate your privacy rights, you may be able to pursue a healthcare Meta pixel lawsuit. Contact The Lyon Firm at (513) 381-2333 for a free legal consultation.
The data picked up by pixel tracking could contain personal identifying information (PII) like social security numbers and financial account numbers. Also, personal health information (PHI) that is HIPAA-protected — details like your diagnoses, medications, or treatments. Medical data also frequently involves images of your body meant for diagnostic use only: pictures, scans, or videos that should never be seen outside of a medical context.
Recent Meta Pixel Tracking Cases
What Settlements Can a Meta Pixel Pharmacy Class Action Lawsuit Help Secure?
Generally, in a Meta pixel lawsuit, a plaintiff would seek damages for any harm suffered as a result of the improper collection, use, or disclosure of their personal information. Some of the damages that may be sought in a Meta pixel lawsuit include:
These are amounts intended to compensate the plaintiff for any actual harm suffered as a result of the Meta pixel tracking. For example, a plaintiff may seek compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, or emotional distress.
In some cases, a plaintiff may seek punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant for egregious conduct and to deter future wrongdoing. These amounts can be quite high, as they are not capped the same way as compensatory damages, and are meant to send a message that discourages bad or unsafe behavior.
Injunctive Relief and Legal Costs
A person may seek injunctive relief to prevent the other party from continuing to engage in the improper collection, use, or disclosure of personal information. You may also seek reimbursement for any attorney’s fees or relevant costs associated with having to pursue a lawsuit in the first place.
The specific amount of damages that can be obtained in a Meta pixel lawsuit will depend on the facts of the case, the extent of the harm suffered, and other factors such as the defendant’s conduct.
It’s important to consult with an experienced attorney to understand the potential damages that may be available. Keep in mind that at The Lyon Firm, your initial consultation with us is free, and we accept most cases on a contingency fee basis. That means we are only paid if we win on your behalf first — if the case is not settled or won, you are not charged a legal fee for our work.
What Is the Meta Pixel Tool?
On a hospital website, for example, Meta pixel can record appointment information and any information selected from menus. The collected information and tracking data is then sent to Meta to be processed, stored, and used for targeted advertising. In the process, various privacy rights may be compromised and even violated.
What Information Is Shared by Pharmacy Meta Pixel Tracking Tools?
The personal and prescription data typically collected and stored at a pharmacy, like other medical information, is meant to be protected to prevent medical identity theft and other forms of fraud.
When customers use a pharmacy website to register, initiate a mail order program, and refill prescriptions, a good deal of personal information is at stake. This is particularly true when the companies allow third-party tracking pixels to be downloaded onto the web browsers of patients.
The following information may be collected at a healthcare or pharmacy website:
- Phone number
- Social Security number
- Driver’s license number
- Health insurance information
- Financial information
- Prescription information
- Patient location
Should this information get leaked or shared by data tracking marketing tools, a pharmacy may be held accountable for improperly disclosing patient data.
Is Meta Pixel Data Tracking Legal?
There can be a fine line between lawful data collection practices and clear privacy violations. Pharmacies have been accused of violating consumer protection laws and common law privacy rights. These alleged violations include allowing third-party tech companies to track and document communications between pharmacy patients on a website or app.
In the cases involving Meta Pixel tracking, the specific patient data that Facebook collects is connected with a specific Facebook user profile. Did each patient give consent to share their data? That is the looming legal question.
Patient consent is generally required for any pharmacy or hospital to share your personal information with third parties. However, most plaintiffs in data tracking lawsuits say they are completely unaware that all data and communications on a web portal are tracked and shared to the “unauthorized” third parties.
GoodRx has also been named as a defendant in a class action data tracking lawsuit. Plaintiffs claimed GoodRx allegedly allowed Meta, Google, and Criteo to track its customers without permission. The complaint said confidential physical and mental health information were being unknowingly disseminated to advertisers.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) took action under its Health Breach Notification Rule against the prescription drug discount provider. They were fined $1.5 million for failing to notify consumers and others of its unauthorized disclosures of consumers’ personal health information to Facebook, Google, and other companies.
Can You Avoid Meta Pixel?
Browsers like Safari, Firefox, and Brave may offer data tracking blockers. Other browsers have privacy extensions. VPNs may also be used to obscure an IP address.
However, consumers may not always be aware of where and when data tracking is being used. If you have experienced an invasion of privacy by data collectors or other tools that may be a privacy violation, contact us for a free consultation.
While companies collect, store, share, and sell your personal data, consumers often see their privacy compromised. Cybersecurity may take a backseat to company profit and growth, and instances of data misuse are increasingly common.
There are many new questions surrounding what companies can legally do with data they collect from their clients, but only a handful of states have actually signed consumer data privacy protections into law.
Contact a Proven Attorney for Meta Pixel Class Action Lawsuits
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities must protect your medical data. If they allow outside parties to have access to that data without securing HIPAA-compliant agreements to maintain your medical privacy, they could be held liable.
Additionally, websites like Facebook/Meta that are alleged to overreach in collecting protected medical data may also be sued. Those class action lawsuits can lead to substantial settlements, and potentially set new legal precedents for what tech companies are and are not allowed to do.
Why Hire Us
Our law firm has decades of proven experience handling cases that affect consumer rights and privacy. Our aim is to ensure that corporations and large companies are held accountable for their misconduct.
If you need to speak with an attorney about hospital data privacy, third-party websites tracking your medical data, or possible class action lawsuits against medical or tech companies, contact The Lyon Firm at (513) 381-2333. These are complex, ever-evolving technological matters, and you deserve a lawyer who is experienced and knowledgeable in the field.
Frequently Asked Questions
Tracking pixels, also known as web beacons or pixel tags, are small, invisible images that are embedded on a web page or in an email. They are used by companies to track user behavior and gather information about how people interact with their website or email.
When a user visits a website or opens an email containing a tracking pixel, the pixel is downloaded from the server hosting it, and its code runs on the user’s computer or device. This allows the company that placed the pixel to collect data on the user’s behavior, such as the pages they visit, the products they view, and how long they spend on each page. This information can then be used for targeted advertising, personalization, and analytics.
Health and Human Services (HHS) officials have noted that pixel tracking can lead to dangerous disclosures. Such incidents may reveal sensitive information like diagnoses, frequency of visits to a therapist or specialist, and where an individual seeks medical treatment.
The use of tracking pixels by Meta and other companies has been found to violate data privacy laws such as the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). Such tracking has been the subject of privacy concerns and legal challenges, particularly when they are used without the user’s knowledge or consent. Contact The Lyon Firm at (513) 381-2333 for knowledgeable information about your rights in the United States.
Betterhelp paid $7.8 million to consumers in a settlement filed by the FTC for revealing patient data with Facebook and Snapchat for advertising.
GoodRx, a telemedical service and prescription price comparison platform, paid $1.5 million to settle claims filed by the Justice Department on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission for failing to notify users of disclosing personal health information to Facebook and Google.
Premom, an app that tracks fertility, was accused by the FTC of sharing personal information with third parties and sensitive health data to AppsFlyer and Google.
University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics faced a lawsuit accusing them of installing a pixel tracking technology on its websites to share patient data.
Excela Health, based in Greensburg, Pa., faced a lawsuit alleging the use of tracking technology on its web portal.
Mount Nittany Health faced a lawsuit claiming the use of pixels on its website to send patient information to Facebook and Google.
Steward Health Care System faced a lawsuit for the alleged use of a Meta pixel tracking tool within its website that sent patient data to Meta and Google.
Orlando Health faced a lawsuit from a patient for allegedly using pixel tracking technology to send patient information to Facebook.
UofL Health, based in Louisville, faced a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging the use of the Meta pixel consumer-tracking tool to transfer private health data to Meta.
LCMC Health faced a class-action lawsuit accusing them of using a tracking code in their websites to share sensitive data without patient knowledge or consent.
The Christ Hospital, based in Cincinnati, faced a lawsuit for allegedly using pixel codes on their website to send patient information to Meta.
Cedars-Sinai, based in LA, faced a lawsuit alleging the sharing of patient data with Meta, Google and Microsoft.
Rush University System for Health, based in Chicago, faced a lawsuit in federal court claiming the transmission of patient data to tech companies.