Artificial intelligence health app taking more information than necessary: Report
A health app that allows Albertans to speak to a virtual agent about the symptoms of their potential illnesses is not fully compliant with rules set out to protect the privacy of its clients, a provincial agency has found.
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) says it has come up with a list of 31 findings and 20 recommendations following an investigation into TELUS' Babylon Health app.
The mobile program was first launched in B.C. in March 2019 but came to Alberta last year.
The OIPC said while Babylon informed them the video recording function was disabled in June 2020, the audio recording feature is still available.
It added the issue regarding photos and the recording of consultations are "not consistent with provincial and national guidelines for providing health care."
When the app first launched, Health Minister Tyler Shandro called it timely, especially when COVID-19 rules at the time had Albertans self-isolating whenever they exhibited cold or flu-like symptoms.
"Using this app is an alternative to visiting physicians face-to-face when you're not sure if your symptoms are related to the novel coronavirus or at any other time," he said at the time.
Now, the province said it will be carefully considering the OIPC reports but says TELUS has already implemented some of the recommendations on its own.
Meanwhile, TELUS is standing by its MyCare virtual care service, insisting that it "meets or exceeds all privacy requirements set out in Alberta's legislation" including the concerns outlined in the OIPC report.
"Protecting our customers' privacy and safeguarding their personal information is paramount and we want to assure users of TELUS Health MyCare that their privacy is and has always been respected."