Lawsuit Investigation: Did DaVita Violate Dialysis Patients’ Data Privacy?
Last Updated on May 25, 2023
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are no longer investigating this matter. The information here is for reference only. A list of open investigations and lawsuits can be viewed here.
At A Glance
- This Alert Affects:
- DaVita dialysis patients with Facebook accounts who visited DaVita.com and live in California
- What’s Going On?
- Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are investigating whether DaVita illegally shared patients’ personal and medical information with Facebook and other third parties through tracking tools on its website. It’s possible that a class action lawsuit could be filed against the company over potential violations of California privacy laws.
- How Could a Lawsuit Help?
- A class action lawsuit could help compensate DaVita dialysis patients for potential privacy violations and possibly force the company to change its data privacy practices.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org want to hear from DaVita dialysis patients with Facebook accounts who visited DaVita.com.
Specifically, they’re looking into whether the company violated California privacy laws by sharing patients’ personal and medical information with Facebook via tracking and analytics tools on DaVita.com. It’s believed that these tools may have been used to track users’ online activities, including their private communications on the website, and secretly pass along the data to Facebook without patients’ consent.
The attorneys are now looking into whether a class action lawsuit can be filed against DaVita over potential privacy violations, but they first need to hear from more of the company’s dialysis patients.
How Could Facebook Be Tracking Patients’ Medical Data?
Website operators often use a variety of tracking and analytics tools to collect information about consumers’ online activities. In many cases, the data is passed along to Facebook or other third parties and used for advertising purposes.
These tracking tools – such as the Facebook pixel, for instance – operate behind the scenes and can be programmed to collect and share information about every action a user takes on a website, including the buttons they click on, searches they perform, content they view and information they type into forms. Thus, it’s possible that Facebook and other third parties can glean consumers’ sensitive personal and medical information from their online activity.
For example, non-profit news organization The Markup reported in June 2022 that 33 of the top 100 hospitals in the country had the Facebook pixel embedded in their websites and were potentially sharing patients’ private medical data with the social media giant. On one hospital’s website, for instance, when a visitor clicked the “Schedule Online” button on a doctor’s page, the pixel sent to Facebook the text of the button, the doctor’s name and the specific search term that led to the page, according to the article. In some cases, The Markup reported, the pixel was installed inside health systems’ password-protected patient portals and collected information about consumers’ medications, allergic reactions and doctor’s appointments.
Could DaVita Be Violating Patients’ Online Privacy?
DaVita.com contains a vast amount of resources for dialysis patients and their loved ones, including classes, recipes, videos, treatment tools and locations of the company’s dialysis centers.
If DaVita is using tracking and analytics tools on its website, it’s possible that patients’ online communications are being unlawfully tracked and disclosed without consent when they visit DaVita.com. Moreover, certain tracked activity – such as a patient’s use of a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) calculator, registration for a kidney health class or request for treatment at a specific dialysis center, for instance – could potentially reveal their private medical information to Facebook and other unauthorized parties.
If so, it’s possible that DaVita may have violated California privacy laws that prohibit the disclosure of consumers’ information without their consent.
How Could a Lawsuit Help?
A successful class action lawsuit could help compensate consumers for potential violations of their privacy.
The California Invasion of Privacy Act states that victims could be awarded damages of $5,000 or more per violation.
A lawsuit could also potentially force DaVita to change its data privacy practices.
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