Something You Should be Aware of if Your Wellness Program Uses Wearable Devices

March 8, 2015

Many corporate wellness programs have adopted the use of wellness wearables such as Fitbits and Jawbones. These devices provide information about activity and health monitoring. Recently the privacy behind these items has come into question. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) recently released a new set of privacy guidelines in regards to wearable fitness technology. These guideline were aimed at companies that handle personal wellness data but they could apply to your company as well if any of what they are asking for is currently handled or tracked by your company.

These suggestions include:
· Giving wearable users the ability to review their personal wellness data before it is shared · Disclosing the procedure for law enforcement requests
· Allowing for opt-outs of advertising The CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro said in a statement, “More consumers than ever are now harnessing personal data—calories consumed, daily steps taken, and heart rate measurements.

These benefits rely heavily on wellness data, and the guiding principles demonstrate that wellness technology companies understand they must be trusted stewards of that consumer data.” According to a recent survey by Forrester about 20% of Americans wear a health monitoring device. While the more expensive health monitoring watches may include privacy and security settings, the cheaper pulse trackers may not. For wellness programs that allow uploads of this data to their site, privacy may be a concern. The industry is still trying to navigate the fine line between privacy and group inspiration. Often those on a wellness journey are inspired by others and think nothing of sharing their data. However, when they begin to think of the possible connection between their corporate wellness program and insurance rates, they may become more concerned. Is the privacy of your employees at risk? It may be time to take prophylactic action and reassure them that it’s not.

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