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Fitness tracker for everyone: Health insurance companies want to use data
You can monitor important data such as heart rate and metabolism with fitness bracelets and special apps, but many of the devices do poorly in tests, they measure a lot of crap. Nevertheless, health insurance companies want to use fitness wristband data more in the future.
Trend towards digital self-monitoring
A curious trend of digital self-monitoring has been observed in Germany for years. The demand for health and fitness apps and technical gadgets such as bracelets is constantly increasing. Experts caution people to exercise caution with health apps because they often lead to falsified results. But that doesn't seem to prevent German health insurance companies from relying more on such data. As the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" (SZ) reports, representatives of politics and health insurers want to make the health data of insured people more accessible than before.
Store fitness data in an electronic patient record
According to this, many would support the recent advance by the Techniker-Krankenkasse (TK) to store fitness wristband data in the electronic patient file. The possibilities of digitization should "finally also be used in the healthcare system", said the patient representative of the federal government, Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU), to the SZ. In this context, Germany is "still a developing country". In his opinion, the electronic patient record offers "great opportunities". This also applies to the use of data from fitness trackers, which are usually worn on the wrist and store movement and sleep profiles, among other things. However, Laumann warned that no one should be forced to give data.
Application only applicable in a few years
TK boss Jens Baas had suggested that movement data should be included in the planned electronic patient record. However, the patient must remain “in control of his file”. The patient record is an application based on the electronic health card that can be used, for example, to save x-rays and laboratory results in a few years and to be called up by doctors via the insurance card. According to the SZ, other health insurance companies were open to the TK's proposal, but at the same time expressed doubts.
Be careful when sharing health information
Barmer boss Christoph Straub said that he was watching the development of fitness bracelets very closely. He said: "However, considerations to collect this data online and make it accessible to health care are now a dream of the future." Straub assumes that the legislature would "put a stop to such projects." Already in the past, caution was given when passing on health data via modern aids. The Federal Data Protection Commissioner also criticized the fitness apps that some private insurers have been offering for some time.
Third parties could skim or manipulate data
As the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" writes, government circles say that the technical connection of the manufacturers to the planned high security network of the health card could be a hurdle in the implementation of the project. For example, a recently published study by British and Canadian researchers showed that many fitness wristbands allow third parties to skim or manipulate health data. Doctors also criticize the TK plans.
“Data cemetery” for medical professionals
According to Franz Bartmann, board member of the German Medical Association, tracking data in patient files is “data waste”. Most users are young people who are willing to perform and who are normally not a case for the doctor. In addition, meaningful data that are recorded by the patient and flow into the treatment would have to meet the strict criteria of the Medical Devices Act. The digital association Bitkom considers the evaluation of this data only useful if doctors can use it easily. Bitkom expert Pablo Mentzinis said that without a uniform solution from all manufacturers, the sensors for doctors would rather produce a "data graveyard". (ad)