Thursday , January 27 2022

How mobile applications can take care of health can also harm you



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More than 200,000 health apps are available at the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

Digital health is a big business. But it also raises many doubts.

This includes the use of technology to help provide healthcare. It includes, inter alia:

mobile applications

health and implanted chip.

The value of the digital health market is expected to be $ 379,000 million in 2024 worldwide, which is more than a significant leap from its value in 2017: $ 71,000 million, according to consultancy on the global market.

However, this remarkable expansion has caused concern: is technology promising to improve the lives of users used against them?

It is estimated that more than 200,000 health applications are available on Google Play and Apple Store.

"Using sensors, tracking devices, and other data collection tools, we can identify trends, anomalies, or other environmental or physical factors that could affect how we treat and manage illnesses and ultimately improve life expectancy. People," says John Bard , Executive Vice President, Digital Medicine Business, Otsuka.

"But this promise is a huge responsibility."

These doubts come from ethics to data security. But how could these applications harm you?

You could end up paying more for your life insurance


Insurance company John Hancock offers only interactive policies that monitor user behavior
Insurance company John Hancock offers only interactive policies that monitor user behavior

Last September
John Hancock, one of the largest and oldest insurance companies in North America, made a lot of fun.

The company said it would only operate in the future with "interactive" policies that control physical condition and health data through devices

wearable

(for those joining clothes) and smartphones.

They explained that they reward customers who led a healthier lifestyle with discounts and gifts. They were based on statistics showing that holders of interactive policies live between 13 and 21 years of age more than other insured persons.

But some insurance experts warned that this decision could make insurers use the data obtained to punish customers who do not meet their goals and even charge more for those who choose interactive policies.

However, the company said that the demand for interactive interactive policies was driven by customer demand: the use of health records over the last three years has risen by over 700%.

"For centuries, the insurance model has provided financial protection to families after death without increasing the quality of life," said Marianne Harrison, President and CEO of John Hancoka.

"We believe that insurers need to worry about their customers' time and quality of life, and with this decision we are proud that we have become the only US life insurance company based solely on health habits and the old way of doing business."

Your device might be spying on you


Many people with respiratory problems need expensive machines and public health systems do not always provide
Many people with respiratory problems need expensive machines and public health systems do not always provide

Millions of people with respiratory problems, such as sleep apnea, are using expensive machines and public health systems do not always provide.

In November, an investigation by the American Radio NPR revealed that some health insurance companies provided these interactive mechanisms to patients to do so
send data about their use. This would ultimately prevent them from covering users who do not meet the requirements.

But German data specialist Christian Bennefeld warns that companies do not have to go to these extremes to monitor people.

A study conducted by his company, eBlocker, revealed that health industry websites are already spy-browsing activities thanks to Internet tracking programs.

"The problem is that many users do not know that this information is being monitored, even if they consult a medical website, and, for example, look for terms like cancer," the BBC said Bennefeld.

You may be tempted to self-diagnose


There is a lot of information about the disease on the Internet
There is a lot of information about the disease on the Internet

Many years ago there were many 'online'
information on symptoms and diseases free of charge.

However, with increasingly sophisticated technology, patients have a range of tools that allow them to scan and even perform genetic tests.

Even public bodies such as the UK National Health Service have applications with virtual assistants to help filter queries.

However, a study by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in 2016 showed that more than half of British adults use the Internet instead of going to the doctor.

In addition, the survey by the research company Mintel concluded that more and more young people are likely to trust the health information they have found online, rather than doctors or pharmacists.

And despite health warnings, the British Medical Journal analyzed 23 health-related websites and found that its diagnosis was correct in only 34% of cases.

They could hack you


There are doubts about the safety of health data obtained from applications
There are doubts about the safety of health data obtained from applications

One of the biggest problems with digital health is the large amount of patient data.

Are they vulnerable to leaks that have been repeated in the last decade?

So far, no companies involved in the health sector have been included in the list of the biggest ever leaks.

But this year, some hackers entered the Singapore government's health database and collected 1.5 million personal data, which is about a quarter of the country's population.

You can be a biased algorithm victim (or not)


Several studies on the use of artificial intelligence point to the need to avoid algorithmic prejudices
Several studies on the use of artificial intelligence point to the need to avoid algorithmic prejudices

Digital medicine enthusiasts claim that technology will lead to increasingly personalized medical care.

But many believe that this can also lead to unpleasant situations for patients.

And this is due to the deviation of the algorithm that occurs when the computer system reflects the indirect values ​​of the people participating in its design.

Several studies on the use of artificial intelligence highlight the need for broader representation in developer groups as well as data.

The independent British organization Nuffield Bioethics Council said: "Artificial intelligence could work worse if the data is poor or difficult to collect digitally, which could affect people with rare diseases or other people who are under-represented in clinical trials and research data such as black people. Asians and ethnic minorities. "

Maybe in the end they don't give you any benefit


The study involved technology for physical health monitoring and eating disorders
The study involved technology for physical health monitoring and eating disorders

Research on digital health success has produced uneven results.

An example is the article by Virginia Commonwealth University on technology that helps calorie counting and sports with eating disorders.

On the other hand, some studies in the UK have shown that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have reduced incomes and home visits.

This year, a study by Australian Bond University found that only 23 health and wellness applications were analyzed according to the highest academic standards and that only one was working:
GetHappy

This is a curious case. The Swedish government has developed an application to stop alcohol consumption among university students (Promillekoll), which ultimately led men to drink more, according to the magazine Addiction Science and Clinical Practice.

You could get the opposite of what you wanted


The Natural Cycle Application informs users about ovulation
The Natural Cycle Application informs users about ovulation

With over 700,000 users from 200 different countries,
Nature Cycles is an application that is recognized as the first certified "digital contraception" in the world. It uses a hormone-free method based on reproductive cycles and is even approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

However, the application and the company have been the focus of attention since July when unwanted pregnancies began to appear.

In January, Swedish health authorities reported that 37 out of 668 abortions at the Stockholm hospital were women who had used the application.

In August, the UK Advertising Standards Authority banned the promotion of natural cycles on Facebook, claiming that it overstated the effectiveness of the application.


Elina Berglund, co-founder of the Natural Cycles application
Elina Berglund, co-founder of the Natural Cycles application

"No contraceptive method is 100% effective and unwanted pregnancies are a risk of any contraception," the company announced in August.

Natural cycles ensure that clinical trials have shown a 93% efficacy level. It was independently approved by the Swedish Medical Products Agency, which authorized the application.

But the agency also asked for natural cycles to "indicate the risk of unwanted pregnancy in the package leaflet and application so that users take this into account."

He also stated that "it will continue to cause unwanted pregnancy and will check for any deviation of the clinical evaluation from the expected amount".

"We understand all women who have experienced unwanted pregnancies and we understand that this is a difficult situation, but the number of hospital-registered pregnancies is roughly the number of users we have in Stockholm, that is, 5% That's what we expect from the application, "Natural Cycles Technical Director Elina Berglund told BBC Radio 5.

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