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Ever wondered about the intersection of some of the health privacy and security-related laws and rules enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Health and Human Services? You’re not alone, which is why FTC and HHS have teamed up to update a joint publication – Collecting, Using, or Sharing Consumer Health Information? Look to HIPAA, the FTC Act, and the Health Breach Notification Rule  – that helps businesses learn more about their legal obligations.

Collecting, Using, or Sharing Consumer Health Information focuses on four primary sources:

  • HHS’ Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA);
  • HHS’ HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules;
  • the FTC Act; and
  • the FTC’s Health Breach Notification Rule.

The publication addresses some of the questions that may be on your mind. What entities are covered? (The answer may surprise you.) What do you have to do to maintain the privacy and security of consumers’ health information? What steps must you take if you experience a breach? Collecting, Using, or Sharing Consumer Health Information gives to-the-point advice and features links to more detailed guidance from the FTC and HHS.

In addition to the updated publication, check out the FTC-HHS Mobile Health App Interactive Tool. It’s a good starting point for app developers and other companies looking for the fundamentals. 

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Wilma Ingram
September 18, 2023

My information was in the Oregon DMV and OHA/CPCCO data breaches. Why isn't Oregon helping us?

September 20, 2023

This is sick, creepy, major privacy concern

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