In the past month, it has become clear that three mobile device powerhouses have set their sights on creating platforms that gather health and fitness data. These platforms will also incorporate wearable devices and aggregate health information, collected by different apps, into one centralized profile. With the announcements of Samsung’s SAMI platform and Apple’s HealthKit, plus the rumor that Google will announce their Google Fit platform next week, many in the mobile health industry are excited as well as concerned.
For simplicity’s sake, let’s examine a key benefit shared by the three. Two widely accepted metrics for mental health are sleep and diet. If a client could present their therapist with a physiological report of their sleep patterns and weekly diet, then that information could be used to supplement the mood and behavioral data tracked by Mentegram. The result would be even greater insight into a client’s experience, thus a higher likelihood of correctly identifying and addressing any issues.
However, many are concerned with the security of these platforms, due primarily to the lack of clarity regarding how the data is gathered and accessed. Our main concern deals with HIPAA compliance and how it is applied to these centralized health profiles. Even if the user agrees to share their personal health information to their profile, it is still unclear which sort of apps will have access, or what access will be granted by factory defaults. Additionally, there is the issue of how the information can effectively be de-identified, especially when it is exists on a device that is exclusive to one person. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how this unfolds in the coming months.
Here at Mentegram, we are excited by the possibility of a new resource to help our providers improve their quality of care. However, we are not willing to sacrifice privacy or security for bells and whistles. For us, the best method for ensuring that personal health information remains uncompromised is to keep it between the only two people who need to know.