A review of Halaxy (HealthKit)
Halaxy vs Power Diary
There are some important things about Halaxy (formerly HealthKit) that we want to bring to the attention of health practitioners.
Choosing the right practice management software for your clinic can be a difficult and confusing decision. To help make the decision a little easier, we periodically review competitor systems and compare different aspects of them to Power Diary. When doing this, we ask ourselves:
What is the most important and helpful information people need to know about the differences between system X and us? Usually this comes down to different features, usability, costs, security, reliability etc.
Not in Halaxy’s case.
There are concerning differences in how Halaxy uses your clients’ health data.
Furthermore we’re highlighting Halaxy’s TOU and PP because they contain clauses we think most practitioners and patients would not expect. In fact we haven’t found clauses like Halaxy’s in any other commonly used competitors in the marketplace including:
- Medical Director
- Front Desk
- Best Practice
- TM2 / TM3
It then goes on to list the type of personal information Halaxy may collect. Again this list is fairly standard for a Practice Management System, however it’s important to note that the personal information collected may include health information entered into Halaxy by a patient or practitioner, including:
- “..the treatment you have received…
- …service type, service description…
- …which practitioner treated you…
- …test results…
- …current and past medical history”
This becomes particularly relevant when we look at Halaxy’s permitted purposes of use which they detail next.
Permitted Purposes of Use
- “…conduct research and for advertising and marketing”
- “for medical research purposes, including providing this information to third parties for this purpose”
- “to send you marketing and promotional messages…sent by…our business partners”
You can see a more complete range in this screenshot here:
What about patient consent? Who is responsible?
To understand this we need to look at Halaxy’s overall Terms and Conditions which can be found here: https://halaxy.com/article/terms.
The clearest answer to the consent question appears to be contained in the section Practitioner Specific Clauses, Section 5. General Obligations where it states that you (the practitioner) warrant to Halaxy:
Put simply, this appears to indicate that if you’re a practitioner using Halaxy, you agree that you have made your patients aware of how Halaxy can use patient’s health data, and you have obtained patient’s consent for this.
Is Halaxy different to other PMS providers?
In our review of Practice Management Systems, we found that nearly all systems, including Power Diary, operate something like this:
Practices pay a monthly, annual or once-off fee to use the PMS.
Fees for Extras:
Additional fees typically apply for extras such as SMS use, payment processing etc.
Patient health data entered is considered to be the exclusive property of the practice. It is only used by the PMS in a manner you’d reasonably expect as part of operating a Practice Management System. The Privacy Policies do not allow accessing or using patient data for other commercial or research purposes.
Halaxy’s core features are free to use.
Fees for Extras:
Fees apply for extras such as SMS use, payment processing etc.
“If you don’t pay for a product, you are the product”
Providing services or software for free in exchange for people’s personal data is not new, and not necessarily a bad thing. It comes down to people making an informed decision. Most people use free services like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and understand their data is used for advertising and other purposes.
Halaxy advise users they “are building the largest, most unique health longitudinal datasets in the world” and that by using Halaxy they’re “contributing” in exchange for “access” to the system.
In our view this does not make it clear enough that Halaxy can use and disclose patient data for a much wider range of uses. Furthermore, the onus of gaining consent for that data use primarily lies with the practitioner.
Concerned – What should you do?
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