Do you know what you’re agreeing to when you click “I agree” on a website’s terms of service form?
Yet by signing terms of service, users may cede control of their intellectual property, agree to be used as research subjects and allow companies to collect and distribute their personal information, including, perhaps, medical information.
— hari sreenivasan (@hari) March 13, 2015
Theoretically, if users users want to keep their information private, they can delete their ZocDoc accounts. In that case, ZocDoc promises to delete the account and the information it contains as soon as reasonably possible.
But the company also reserves the right to store all information indefinitely, including information from closed accounts, raising the question of whether a user can expect personal information to disappear entirely.
Update:ZocDoc contacted the PBS NewsHour and provided this statement about their policy for handling customer data:
At ZocDoc, we aim to deliver a better healthcare experience – one that is modern, streamlined and simple. To use some of ZocDoc’s services, patients voluntarily provide information —like insurance details and medical history —that we pass along to their doctors on their behalf. The information patients choose to provide to their doctors via ZocDoc is the very same information they have been sharing for decades via paper, pen and clipboard.
Just like in banking, travel and even online shopping, technology has changed how personal information is transmitted—but the responsibility to protect that information is still of the utmost importance. That’s why all ZocDoc team members are HIPAA trained and oriented around our No. 1 core value: Patients First. We take the greatest care of patient information. We would never share it inappropriately.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to clarify that the terms highlighted above were not changed when ZocDoc updated their overall Term of Service.
We’d like to hear from you: Have you found anything in a user agreement that gave you pause or raised privacy concerns? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below.