FTC: Major search engine indexed medical transcripts containing psychiatric notes

Healthcare and Public Health

GMR Transcription Services agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that the company exposed health and personal information on the open Internet, including consumer medical histories and exam notes.

Fedtrans, one of the firm’s contractors, used an application that “transmitted files in clear readable text and was configured so that the files could be accessed online by anyone,” according to court papers.

The digital records “were indexed by a major internet search engine,” FTC officials stated, and, according to the court papers “were accessed, using the search engine.”

Some of the records contained children’s exam notes and “highly sensitive medical information, such as information about psychiatric disorders, alcohol use, drug abuse, and pregnancy loss,” the court documents state.

Files also included names, birthdays, tax information, medications, and, in some cases, employment histories and marital status.

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