IoT and Healthcare

The July/August Issue of IEEE Internet Computing is focused on applications in Heath care for the Internet of Things (IoT).  This morning, when I hit the home page, it had a birthday cake — and on “hover” – it wished me a “Happy Birthday Jim” — just in case you were wondering if your Google entry page might be customized for you — the answer is “yes”.   How do these two statements intersect? In some (near term?) future, that page may have suggested I needed to visit a doctor – either because I was searching a combination of symptoms, or because the sensors surrounding me (my watch, cell phone, etc.) indicated problematic changes in my health (or some combination of data from such diverse sources.)

Of course this might be followed by a message that my health insurance was being canceled, or my life insurance.

As this Internet Computing issue points out, there are many benefits to be gained from having a network of sensors that can continuously monitor and provide feedback on health data. The first paper addresses barriers — legal, policy, interoperability, user perspectives, and technological.  The second paper focuses on “encouraging physical activity” and the third paper considers “quality of life (QoL)” (physical health, psychological, social relationships and environment (financial, safety, freedom, …)) It is evident that IoT and health care have many points of overlap – some intended (monitoring devices) and some unintended (search analysis) — and all with significant personal and social impact considerations.

Besides my ingrained paranoia (will Google automatically apply for my retirement beneifts and direct the checks to their accounts?) and delusional optimism (“Your financial QoL is below acceptable norms, we have transferred $1 million into your accounts to normalize this situation – have a good day”) there are pros and cons that will emerge.

What issues and opportunities do you see?

One thought on “IoT and Healthcare

  1. The internet and the death of privacy
    Iain Gillespie, SMH
    Katina Michael, University of Wollongong
    Roger Clarke, ANU
    Katina Michael, associate professor of information systems and technology at Wollongong University, says global companies with intimate details on the lives of hundreds of millions of people are already establishing their own insurance arms. “Your health insurance will go up because data being stored about you on the cloud will show you’re not doing enough exercise and are buying lots of fatty foods,” she says. “Your future health provider may well be a subsidiary of Google, Samsung or Microsoft.” Michael says that along with its massive surveillance capacity, Google has invested in 23andMe, a company that tells people how their future health may be influenced by their genetics. Hundreds of thousands of people have already given their DNA to this company, she says. “You might realise your personal details are being harvested but you don’t know how the companies storing your data are enmeshed in the background, the alliances and partnerships they have. You don’t know these things.” Personal security is another downside. For instance, GPS location data gathered from mobile phones, cloud storage of home addresses, and online chats about holiday plans are in the everyday burglar’s toolkit. Read more: Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

    Suggested Citation
    Iain Gillespie, Katina Michael, and Roger Clarke. “The internet and the death of privacy” The Sydney Morning Herald Aug. 2015.

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