When coronavirus cases were beginning to unfold in Canada back in March, Alberta decided to address the additional strain on the healthcare system by introducing the TELUS (TSX: T) Health Babylon app, which physicians would use to conduct virtual appointments with patients. Now, the telemedicine app has come under scrutiny as the Alberta privacy commissioner has launched an investigation regarding privacy concerns.
Back in the beginning of March, when coronavirus cases began to flood in, healthcare workers raised concerns that hospitals and clinics could soon become overwhelmed with patients. In response, the Alberta government partnered with Telus and introduced the TELUS Health Babylon app, which would allow physicians to conduct appointments virtually from the patient’s home and still be compensated identically to an in-person visit. The telemedicine app, which is created by Babylon but is delivered through TELUS, now has come under scrutiny, as the Information and Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton has launched an investigation in regards to a potential breach of privacy.
The Alberta privacy commissioner’s office has thus far received two privacy impact statements. One was submitted by a physician raising concerns about the app’s adherence to the Personal Information Protection Act, meanwhile another was submitted by the company which developed the app, Babylon Health Canada Ltd, regarding compliance concerns. Since the beginning of the app unveiling in Alberta, physicians have been voicing their concerns to the government about privacy issues and undermining their practices. Now with an investigation underway, the Alberta government is suggesting physicians abstain from using the app if they do not feel comfortable with it.
The privacy commissioner’s office does not have a timeline for when the investigation will be completed, but will issue a full statement once it is concluded.
Information for this briefing was found via Global News and the Calgary Herald. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.