Former employees demand therapy transcripts retrieved by Talkspace for marketing
Karissa Brennan, a therapist who signed a contract with Talkspace for about two years, says the company contacted her about a resource she shared with a patient. She says the company told her to keep customers in the app. Brennan told the newspaper that she believed she sent her client an anxiety spreadsheet.
The company’s co-founders say Talkspace analyzes encrypted and anonymized data to help warn therapists about the use of potentially harmful language by their clients. The company also uses this data to detect inappropriate behavior by its subcontractors. The Franks say the company’s approach has allowed it to operate for almost 10 years without malpractice claims within its network.
They also claim that only two employees, its chief medical officer and chief technology officer, have access to all of the original transcripts and both have to agree to view them. According to the Franks, this has only happened “a handful of times.” In addition, each time, Talkspace obtained consent from a patient. A lawyer for Talkspace also disputed the claim that the company had previously used patient data for marketing purposes.
In addition to exploiting the data of its users, the company may have had other questionable practices. the New York Times reports that the startup gave employees phones to post fake positive reviews on the App Store and Play Store, a practice Apple and Google prohibit in their developer guidelines.