As online and offline technologies expand so do our resources. Filled with a wealth of information, new and emerging technologies have affected the ways consumers seek out different types of information. One recent trend is consumer generated and controlled information, where the consumer seeks out medical or health data via non-traditional methods (i.e. going to a doctor).
Whether it’s tracking your glucose levels on a mobile health app, wearing a heart rate device on your morning jog or simply sharing your health concerns on a website forum, people are collecting and managing their own health information through these resources.
According to Planning Room, there are many benefits to patients and health providers using technology to gather health data. Some include: fewer tests and procedures, a decrease in preventable illnesses, better management of chronic sickness and more.
However, because the trend of consumer generated health information is fairly recent, the question of where that collection of data goes and what it is used for is a topic that is of concern. Enter the Federal Trade Commission who has taken it upon themselves to help answer this question among several others.
“This is going to be the third in our series of three in the privacy [seminars],” said Attorney for the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection at FTC, Kristen Anderson. “In addition to the work that the Commission does, we also hold public workshops and seminars like this to investigate some of the newer technologies and emerging practices.”
Information from panelists as well as the public will provide some insight as to what some of the privacy and security implications might be, added Anderson. Specifically, the seminar will cover personal health records and applications as well as websites.
Some of the questions the panel will cover include, but are not limited to the following:
- What types of websites, products, and services are consumers using to generate and control their health data, and in what ways?
- Who are the companies behind these websites, products, and services, what are their business models, and what does the current marketplace look like?
- How can consumers benefit from these websites, products, and services?
“It’s an opportunity to learn more about what’s going on in the marketplace,” said Anderson. “One of our panelists from the Department of Health and Human Services will be able to talk about the traditional healthcare context and contrast that to things that are outside the traditional healthcare context – the way you can manage and generate health data outside of your doctor’s office, which is a relatively new development.”
The seminar will take place in Washington D.C. on May 7th with full webcast available. Members of the public are welcome to attend.
“[Consumers] are interested in finding out more about their health,” said Anderson. “Some people think that if you can measure it then you can improve it. So people are trying to engage more with their fitness, diet to see if they can improve their own health or just find out more information.”