Study: Most Dementia Apps Lack A Privacy Policy

Fifty-four percent of dementia apps don't have an available privacy policy, a recent study out of Boston-based Harvard Medical School found.

The researchers — led by Lisa Rosenfeld, MD, psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, both in Boston — identified 72 iPhone apps that matched searches for "medical + dementia" or "health & fitness + dementia." Their findings, published in >The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, evaluated privacy policies to determine the security of users' health-related data.

Forty-six percent of the apps had an available privacy policy. Of those 33 apps, 76 percent specified how individual users' data would be handled. The researchers found there was a "preponderance of missing information," although the majority of apps acknowledged collecting individual data, which might be used for internal purposes or shared with outside parties.

"The majority of health apps focused on dementia lack a privacy policy, and those that do exist lack clarity," the study authors concluded.

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