According to Mac’s recent rumors, Apple will announce its expected smartwatch along with the new iPhone 6 at a media event on September 9, 2014. Apple’s smartwatch is expected to include several health-related sensors to monitor user steps. taken, heart rate, hours and sleep quality, etc. This type of information, along with the development tools “HealthKit” launched by Apple this June, could lead to new health and fitness applications that help users control and improve their overall health and well-being.
However, as anyone who has dealt with complex systems knows, the introduction of new technologies often leads to unforeseen consequences. This is even more true when new technology has the potential to be a multi-million dollar game replacement in the healthcare industry. This is even more true when there are many third parties involved between the user and his physician, such as the user’s employer and the employer’s insurance company.
While I am generally one of the first to introduce new technologies, two more recent articles come to mind when considering the expected benefits and potential drawbacks of using a smart watch. The first was a July 3, 2014 Businessweek article on Carolinas Healthcare that manages more than 900 hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities. Carolinas Healthcare has purchased information on credit card purchases, business card transactions and other records with more than 2 million people. The stated goal of analyzing people’s consumption habits is to develop more comprehensive risk assessments than those that could be made based on the information that patients voluntarily provide to their physicians.
The second article was a Forbes article from June 19, 2014 on how “more employers choose to monitor data generated by physical activity trackers” to reward participation in corporate wellness programs and punish unhealthy behavior. The article continues to mention that sales to employers are one of the fastest growing segments of Fitbit sales.
While I personally don’t care that my employer “chooses to monitor” sensors on a smart watch (I manage my own business), I have a broader concern about the general direction our society is taking in accepting the idea, that it is good for third parties (employers, insurance companies, government, etc.) to oversee almost every aspect of our lives. Of course, as a community, we already provide a lot of information to third parties, such as cell phone companies who know who we call and where we are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, credit card companies that know everything We buy and internet marketing companies that track all our movements online.
However, smart watches go to http://hazzler.com/ a step beyond the vast amount of information already available each time we scan a customer loyalty card or pay for something with a credit card. There is an axiom that once the information is delivered, it can never be recovered. There is also a rule that states that once the information is delivered, it is impossible to control how it is used.
For example, Japanese Americans duly filled in the forms for the U.S. Census Bureau. UU. In 1940, and they never expected that data would be used against him a few years later. For decades, the U.S. Census Bureau has. UU. He denied having participated in the detention of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. However, government documents published in Scientific American in 2007 showed that the Census Bureau had actually given the names and addresses of innocent people so that they could be forcibly relocated to detention camps.
While I do not expect employers or insurance companies to penalize “unhealthy behavior” with hospitalization, the principle still exists that when personal data is provided to a third party, whoever provided it has lost all control over them.
In all likelihood, I will be one of the first to adopt the new Apple smartwatch because I like the idea of being able to read a text on my wrist. I just shudder a little each time I realize that this type of technology brings us one step closer to the point where our technology can be used to control us instead of us controlling it.