A recent lawsuit accuses the Bellevue-based hospital of utilizing Meta Pixel and other tools to share patients’ private health information with third parties, including Meta Platforms and Google, without consent. Hundreds of thousands are believed to be affected.
According to a news report published on Law360, Overlake Hospital Medical Center, a nonprofit healthcare organization located in Bellevue, Washington, faces a proposed class-action lawsuit. The suit, filed in Washington federal court, accuses the hospital of utilizing Facebook’s online tracking tools, specifically Meta Pixel and Conversions Application Programming Interface, on its patient portal. This has allegedly led to the exposure of the private health data of hundreds of thousands of patients to Meta Platforms, Google, and other third parties without the individuals’ consent.
The Plaintiff’s lawsuit alleges that the tools have been integrated into Overlake’s computer systems. They function as virtual eavesdropping devices by recording information entered by patients as they interact with healthcare specialists online. According to the lawsuit complaint, every interaction, including clicks, selections, and text typed, such as conditions, symptoms, and treatments, gets shared with third parties like Facebook. The lawsuit claims that using Meta Pixel in conjunction with Conversions API, part of Meta’s marketing and web analytics toolkit, has allowed confidential health information to be automatically associated with users’ unique Facebook IDs. This data was then disclosed to third parties for targeted advertising purposes.
Nienaber, a longtime patient of Overlake, states that she has utilized the website since 2019 for various purposes, such as scheduling appointments, communicating with healthcare providers, and managing billing. She has noticed targeted ads on Facebook related to her medical conditions that she sought treatment for through Overlake, even though she never consented to the sharing of her information.
The lawsuit intends to represent a nationwide class of individuals who had their private information disclosed to third parties without permission through Overlake’s website. The alleged offenses include negligence, privacy invasion, unjust enrichment, and breaches of the Electronics Communication Privacy Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
In recent months there has been a surge in similar lawsuits against healthcare providers over the utilization of Meta Pixel and other site analytics tools. Federal authorities have also intervened, warning providers about the legal risks of such practices.
Evidence provided in this Plaintiff’s lawsuit includes supposed screenshots of Overlake’s website’s source code, showing how Pixel operates, and alleged instances of patients’ health information being sent to Google.
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