In a survey published last Wednesday, the Washington Post revealed the other side of the success of pregnancy apps like Ovia Healthin the United States.
Ovia Health, founded in Boston in 2012, has more than 10 million users. In exchange for a variety of personal information about their cycles, sleep, etc., Ovia Health provides its users with advice and takes credit for “30% fewer miscarriages and as many more natural conceptions”, as well as “better detection of post-partum depression”, although these figures could not be verified.
At the same time, over the past three years many insurers and corporate Human Resources departments have signed contracts with Ovia Health to purchase information from its database. The objectives of employers, who are the main contributors to health premiums in the United States, include, for example, being able anticipate the risks associated with complicated pregnancies among their employees. Ovia Health ensures compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): anonymization of data and a minimum number of female employees using the app before employers can access the data. However, there are real risks associated with cross-checking Ovia Health‘s information with data already known to the company, potentially resulting in the identification of employees.
1] The American Health Information Privacy Law.