Study: Health Apps Often Sell Medical Information To Marketers

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Apps are becoming a larger part of the health care landscape — one-fifth of smartphone users had health apps in 2012 — but it’s rare for them to have privacy policies that actually protect patient data, a study finds. In other health technology news, a simple wand could make it easier for doctors to receive updates on their patients, and new software lets home care aides and non-medical workers spot potential problems before they get worse.

Reuters: Health Apps Often Lack Privacy Policies And Share Our Data
Just because a health app has a privacy policy doesn’t mean the data will remain private, an analysis of mobile tools for diabetes suggests. In fact, privacy policies appear rare, and when they do exist, most state that user data will be collected and half warn that medical information will be shared with third parties. (Rapaport, 3/8)

The Associated Press: This Wand Can Transmit Medical Data To A Doctor From Inside Your Home
Doctors could keep better tabs on their patients between visits with a simple wave of a magic wand-like device being developed at Dartmouth College. The prototype, dubbed “Wanda,” is part of a multi-university project to develop ways to protect patient confidentiality as health care increasingly moves out of hospitals and doctors’ offices and into the home. But beyond safety, simplicity also is a key goal, said doctoral student Tim Pierson, Wanda’s creator. (3/6)

Kaiser Health News: Using Data To Help Home Health Workers Manage Patients’ Conditions
There is little in Ruby’s life that is easy. Nearly blind and unable to walk more than a step or two, the 39-year-old struggles to raise three sons while dealing with a daunting array of health conditions, from diabetes that recently landed her in the hospital to pain from bulging spinal disks. Without support, odds are she’ll end up back in a hospital. But Ruby, who asked that her last name not be used to protect her family’s privacy, is part of a growing effort to reduce those odds by arming home care aides and other non-medical workers with the power of data. (Appleby, 3/9)

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