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It’s unlikely that patients visiting an urgent care center read every word of every document they have to sign before they can actually see a provider. They just want to get in and get relief from whatever complaint motivated them to be there as fast as possible So, they may be a little alarmed when ads for products that somehow relate to the discussion they had with the provider in the privacy of the exam room start popping up online. You may not know how that happens yourself, actually. Articles like the one just published by the Washington Post are illuminating just how some data collection agencies operate, however. To summarize, the agency discussed in the article handles more than 100 million check-ins in U.S. hospitals and practices every year. It doesn’t sell the data collected, per se, but rather uses it to create targeted advertisements. Given the lack of time patients spend reading consent forms before they sign, they may not realize they can opt out of the arrangement. For whatever it’s worth, the agency in the Post article acknowledges that the language explaining that opt-out option could be clearer. It might be wise to alert your front desk staff to this issue, and to investigate ways you can make the opt-out feature clear for any patients who complain.

Patients Are Becoming Better Informed on Data Collection Practices; Make Sure You Are, Too