How Health-Tech Wearables Come Along With Data Privacy Concern
Data Privacy In The Age Of Wearables
Technology is acting as a boon to mankind with the way it’s changing things for the people and industry. Fitness enthusiasts are feeling more blessed with technology making its way into the fitness segment. Among the various trends, the market for wearable tech is creating a buzz. According to a survey, 51 and 71% of employees use fitness trackers or smartphone apps for managing their health in developed and emerging economies, respectively.
Health-tech wearable and application is enhancing the healthcare system by monitoring people’s daily routine. Wearables provide real-time access to health records and provide quicker diagnosis and treatment. People are empowered to take control and monitor their own health, as the technology is user-friendly, connected, and unobtrusive, followed by features like wireless data transmission and real-time feedback.
The growth of Internet of Things (IoT) and the reliance on big data are contributing towards the rise in usage of wearable technology, where people share valuable medical data with their healthcare providers. Information can be cross-referenced with other data sources, giving a multi-faceted view of a person’s physiology.
Changing the Paradigm
Wearable technology is putting the control back in person’s hand, allowing them to manage the treatment of complicated diagnoses from home, and in the case of older people, enabling them more independence for longer. Wearable is making a significant difference in managing chronic diseases. Diabetic people can now manage their health in real-time, with constant glucose monitoring (CGM). CGM system provides quick, dynamic glucose information every five minutes by a 14-day sensor, providing up to 288 readings per day. Data can also be shared with clinicians, modifying the treatment required.
Dr Saarthak Bakshi, CEO, International Fertility Centre said, “The DISHA (Digital Information Security in Healthcare Act) Act, a government initiative shall empower sharing of information and health records amongst the hospitals, clinics and the patients in a protected way.”
Many companies are considering the use of wearable technology in the workplace for wellness purposes. With benefits, it’s mandatory to consider the privacy concern coming along with the use of such wearable. Apart from motivating healthier behavior, these devices collect data, including GPS location, activity levels, heart rate, calorie consumption, sleep levels, and more. People generally assume that this information is protected by laws like The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). It’s not always the case as information generated by a participation-based wellness program doesn’t need to be HIPAA compliant. Dr. Bakshi further adds, “This is to encourage and accept an electronic health and implement privacy and security which shall safeguard data and regulate the storage and exchange of e-health records.”
With technology becoming better, faster, and smaller, data will become more important. Real changes are required to eliminate the risk of unprotected data coming with health-tech wearable.
Individuals need to be aware that the data they produce is a product that businesses sell. Consumers should be aware of the dangers, posed by generating and sharing such data. There is a risk of data falling into the hands of potential employer, hackers, or even banks.
This article was originally published in Franchise India by Shahram Warsi.