Seeking Input on Data Collection Guidelines


by Gillian Christie


Personalized health technology – wearables, smartwatches and mobile health applications – enables users to monitor and modify healthy (and unhealthy) behaviors. Data generated by users on these devices can be used to uncover behavioral insights into entire populations.

Nonetheless, concerns arise with the collection and use of this data. Is the data accurate, reliable or trustworthy? Should individuals share this information with healthcare providers or publicly on social media networks? How are clinicians using this information to support decision making? How can one be certain the information is protected from cybercriminals?

The Vitality Institute, with colleagues from the University of San Diego, California and Microsoft, recently published an open-access commentary that explored these questions. In the article, we called for public input on a set of guidelines for personalized health technology. The details can be accessed here.

Following this 90-day consultation, the guidelines will be revised and promoted as a self-regulatory framework. These guidelines are intended to be principles for the responsible development of PHTs and the stewardship of their associated data. They will be implemented in partnership with relevant stakeholders and assessed with independent evaluators.

A plethora of stakeholders are impacted by poor population health: healthcare providers, wellness vendors, insurance companies and consumers. PHTs provide one opportunity to improve health, but require appropriate standards for responsible innovation. The guidelines are one step toward attaining better health for all (pun intended).

You can share details of the consultation on social media using the hashtag #TrustTech.

Gillian Christie is a health innovation analyst at the Vitality Institute. She conducts research on ethical, legal and social implications of personalized health technology. She completed a Master’s degree at the University of Cambridge and holds an MA from the University of St Andrews.


To access the original article, click here.

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