Health apps: Sensitive health data is continuously shared

Health apps: Sensitive health data is continuously shared


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Two thirds of smartphone users oppose the disclosure of their health data

Modern communication technologies and health apps could revolutionize everyday medical life in the future, but many smartphone users obviously have concerns about the disclosure of their health data. A survey by the digital association Bitkom showed that two thirds of smartphone users would not forward their data to the health insurance company.

According to the IT association, the health apps for the smartphone can “measure a large number of important health data that are useful for the prevention or treatment of diseases.” However, only one in three smartphone users (37 percent) can imagine this To forward data to your own health insurance, according to the results of the representative population survey on behalf of Bitkom. The willingness to share data is significantly higher among users aged 65 and over. Almost half (47 percent) of them would consent to the disclosure. "The data can help to inform and advise patients individually and to provide them with better medical care," explains Bitkom CEO, Dr. Bernhard Rohleder.

Data security required for health apps
According to Bitkom's managing director, it is understandable that "there are many reservations in such a highly sensitive area". This is shown by the fact that six out of ten smartphone users cannot yet imagine passing on the health information that is collected when using the app to their cash register. Basically, "as with other telemedical applications, data security and data protection must be the top priority for health apps."

Consideration for the transfer of health data
Many respondents also expect something in return for sharing their health data. For example, “one in five respondents (19 percent) wished for insurance discounts in return for forwarding their data.” 10 percent expected a premium, for example in the form of money or a voucher, and only seven percent of all surveyed smartphone users would forward their data agree without any consideration. Of the older users aged 65 and over, 33 percent did not expect anything in return.

Possibilities of health apps
Regarding the possibilities of the health apps, the trade association Bitkom explains that, for example, these count the steps taken, enable eye or hearing tests outside the doctor's office or provide information on checking birthmarks and skin changes. Other apps would remind patients "when which medication should be taken in which dose." According to Bitkom, the apps offer advantages especially for chronically ill people. “For example, anyone suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or chronic pain must regularly measure and log their vital signs and adhere strictly to a medical therapy plan,” explains the IT association. The smartphone can help here.

No substitute for a doctor's visit
According to the experts, there are a few points to consider when using the health apps. So the apps cannot replace the examination by a doctor. "In addition, consumers should consider quality indicators when choosing apps, such as test reports or recommendations from reputable scientific institutions," said Bitkom. The doctor's experience or feedback from other users could provide further clues. For the representative survey that Bitkom Research carried out in collaboration with Aris Survey Research on behalf of the Bitkom association, 1,279 people aged 14 and over were surveyed. (fp)

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