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Wearable health-related devices offer great opportunities. As cardiac electrophysiologist Kevin R. Campbell states in one of his blogs, more data is better. He finds that it enables better decisions based on facts, and it can provide least a bit more control for patients to control their illness, which he claims to be especially true for people with chronic diseases. I would agree. I also see opportunities for innovating drugs and devices, as the data can be analyzed according to different patient populations for the development of better and more tailored treatments. If only the devices and apps were already broadly accepted! There are many privacy concerns out there, one writer even calls wearables a “privacy nightmare”.

I think building trust is possible, but some effort is necessary. Some first evident points, most of them inspired by Alison Diana’s commentary in InformationWeek:

  1. All involved parties, e.g. physicians, patients and researchers, set up and confirm by signature their buy-in into common guidelines which data is generated and how the data is used
  2. This should be followed by detailed instructions and education what this concretely means during daily life and execution for everybody who deals with the data
  3. Track, trace and control data from its generation, to its distribution when, where, from who to whom until who accesses the raw or aggregated anonymized data and when, which allows for higher control if everybody follows the rules
  4. The patient needs to get full transparency on all above mentioned points, get access to every detail that concern him or her to be able to wipe out concerns, and the patient needs to be authorized to intervene when necessary
  5. The solution has to be validated and trustworthy

There may be more points to consider. It definitely needs some work and investments to achieve broad acceptance, but I think it will be worthwhile!

Want to read more about medical wearables? Here are some more blogs:

  1. Wearable Medical Devices: Always On for Better Health
  2. Making Medical Wearables Work: Top 3 Traits to Keep in Mind

What do you think about the issues discussed here? Continue the conversation in the comments below and on Twitter @Sap_Healthcare!