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Despite Privacy Worries, Consumers Trust Apple With Their Health Data

Posted on August 14, 2017 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she’s served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

These days, everyone seems to want access to consumer health data. We’re talking not just about healthcare companies, but also financial firms, insurance companies and technology giants like Apple, Google and Amazon.

Consumers have every reason to be concerned how their data is used, as companies outside of the healthcare realm, in particular, might use it in ways that make them uncomfortable. After all, these health-related companies may not have to follow HIPAA rules. Not only that, laws that govern data collection of any kind are still evolving on the state and federal level. It’s just not clear where privacy rules for health data are going.

Troubling ambiguities like these may be why 37% of the 1,000-plus people responding to a new Twitter poll said they wouldn’t share their data with anyone. Perhaps they’ve begun to realize that companies like Google could do a lot of harm if they act recklessly with the health data they’re accumulating.

Nonetheless, there’s at least one company they trust more than others with their PHI, according to the poll, which was conducted by a CNBC writer. That company is Apple, says columnist Christina Farr. When asked which companies they trust with the health data, 41% picked Apple. Meanwhile, Google and Amazon came in at 14% and 8% respectively. That’s a pretty big gap.

Why do consumers trust Apple more than other technology companies?  It’s far from clear. But Andrew Boyd, a professor of biomedical and health information sciences at the University of Illinois, suggests that it’s because Apple has taken steps to foster trust. “Apple has done a big push around health and privacy to breed familiarity and comfort,” Boyd told CNBC.

He noted that Apple has announced plans to make aggregated health information available on smartphones. Next, it plans to integrate other medical data, such as lab results, which usually aren’t part of an integrated health record, Farr points out. Apple has also promised users that it won’t sell health data to advertisers or third-party developers.

Ideally, other companies should be following in Apple’s footsteps, suggests health data privacy expert Lucia Savage, who responded to the Twitter poll.

Savage, who is currently serving as chief privacy and regulatory officer at Omada Health, believes that any company that collects health data should at least provide consumers with a summary of the data they collect on their users and promise not to sell it. (She didn’t say so directly, but we know most non-healthcare firms can’t be bothered with such niceties.)

I think we all look forward to the day when every company takes health data privacy seriously. But giants like Google, with effectively infinite resources, are still pushing the envelope, and we can only expect its competitors to do the same thing. Unless consumers mount a massive protest, or there’s a radical change in federal law, I suspect most non-healthcare firms will keep using health data however they please.

Digital Therapies for Healthcare

Posted on December 29, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I was recently talking to Paulo Machado about what digital health was happening at the CES conference in Las Vegas (see my full schedule of Health Care IT Conferences and Events). Over the 10 years I’ve been going to the event, digital health has really grown at CES. Plus, it has its own subsection called the Digital Health Summit. I’ll actually be speaking at CES as part of a panel on genomics called “Look Who’s Talking: Newborn Genomic Data Enables Precision Medicine” which is happening January 7th, 2:15 PM – 2:40 PM if you’d like to attend.

As I was talking about digital health at CES, I learned that Paulo is now CEO of an evidence based digital therapy company. I’ve long loved the concept of evidence based digital therapies and I was glad to see someone like Paulo working on them. For those not familiar with digital therapies, here’s a look at the top 3 companies in the space:

Claritas Mindsciences
Claritas MindsSciences designs evidence based digital therapies that empower people to manage their cravings and addictions. Dr. Judson Brewer founded the company when he was leading Yale’s Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic. Our digital solutions deliver evidence-based mindfulness training in a personalized, cost effective & scalable fashion. Our first product, Craving to Quit is a 21 session smoking cessation program based on an NIH funded randomized controlled clinical trials which showed that our approach was twice as effective as gold standard treatment at the end of therapy and was >5x as effective at week 17 with a quit rate of 31%. Healthy Eating and Opioid/Drug addiction solutions will be launched in 2016.

Omada Health
Omada works with employer and health plan customers to provide scalable, effective, and evidence-based behavioral interventions for those at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Combining proven behavioral science and the clinically-meaningful results for a tipping point population – those most at-risk for developing obesity-related chronic diseases. Omada operates on a pay-for-outcomes pricing model that eliminates risk for enterprise customers, and is helping drive the company’s growth in the marketplace.

WellDoc is a digital health technology company that develops mobile solutions to drive behavioral and clinical change in chronic disease. WellDoc’s goal is to improve patient self-management and help physicians overcome gaps in the delivery system to improve clinical outcomes and decrease cost. WellDoc has commercialized the first mobile prescription therapy, BlueStar®, for adults with type 2 diabetes. Mobile prescription therapy fills the support gap between patients and providers during the 8700 hours that individuals are living their lives outside the healthcare system. WellDoc has a proven track record of contributing published, peer-reviewed clinical evidence since 2008 and in June 2015 presented real-world patient engagement and clinical outcomes at the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) 75th Scientific Session. BlueStar is recognized by the ADA on its website as the first and only in the new class of diabetes treatment known as Mobile Prescription Therapy.

I’m sure there are other companies that are working on digital therapies. Please share them in the comments. It’s time we spend a lot more time learning about these companies since companies like these are going to transform health care as we know it.