Wearables: Who else is tracking you?

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Last year, I moderated a #HealthXPH tweet chat on fitness trackers, #HealthXPH: The Doctor Will Track You Now. I asked about willingness to wear a fitness tracker, to share the data with a healthcare provider and if the healthcare provider would be willing to go over the data generated. Back then, I was still using my Fitbit. I stopped using it because I thought I’d learned enough about my activity level – that I wasn’t hitting my personal goals! I wasn’t really concerned about risks to my privacy. Of what use would knowing that I walked 6,000 steps only on Thursdays be to someone else? Apparently, it’s not that simple! At the next #HealthXPH tweet chat on Nov 14 9 pm Manila time, let’s discuss the privacy issues that surround wearables.

T1 Do you own a wearable or are you planning to get one? Are you worried about the risk to privacy?

In Beware a future where health monitoring by wearables is the norm, Emmanuel Tsekleves discusses how a Big Brother scenario made possible by wearables can affect health insurance –

What if private health insurance companies follow the car insurance industry, where the monitoring of one’s driving performance affects their insurance premium. Similarly, every health infraction – such as a hen or stag night, Saturday night takeaway or Netflix movie marathon on the sofa – could increase your health premium.

In How data from wearable tech can be used against you in a court of law, Alexander Howard gives examples where in one case, Fitbit data was used to justify a claim and in another case to contradict a claim.

T2 Who owns the data generated by wearables? Who decides if the data can be shared, reused or sold?

The Consumer Electronics Association issued a set of privacy guidelines for personal wellness data. Check out the pdf. It mentions unaffiliated third party transfers.

A company should obtain affirmative consent before transferring personal wellness data to an unaffiliated third party, unless otherwise required by law or the company discloses in its privacy policy circumstances, such as emergencies, in which notice is sufficient…  Users should be able to revoke consent for the company to continue transferring personal wellness data to unaffiliated third parties at any time, unless otherwise required by law. A company should notify users if revoking consent will
disable certain functions of a product or service.

T3. Given the concern for privacy, will you allow use of Google glass (by HCP or patient) in a healthcare setting?

Erica Garvin lists the 5 Biggest barriers to Google glass adoption in healthcare. The very first barrier is privacy regulations and HIPAA compliance.