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Pump your health data

Pump your health data
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Pump your health data: you collect all that health data via smart devices, how can you use it?

Pump your health data

I was at my weekly business networking meeting and my personal insurance guy started talking about how Manulife Canada will start using your fitness data with a Vitality plan in 2017 to lower your life insurance cost.

Manulife already offers this in the United States and some other countries. You can upload data from your fitness tracker into their web site. You get personalized health goals and points for exercise and getting an annual health check.

Big Data

But how reliable is that data? Recently Fitbit took a hit when scientists tested their devices and found that they get heart rates wrong by 25 beats per minute.

Just the other week I saw a New Yorker cartoon with two runners, one had about twenty fitness trackers on his arm and cheerily informs his friend he gets paid to wear other people’s trackers. Got to wonder if insurance companies start to rely on this data, how soon there will be a booming business in fitness data fraud?

Who has access to your data?

Doctored Data

Currently there is no easy way to provide your doctor with data from your tracker. There are reports of folks trying to synchronize their devices with doctors’ computers, print outs of stats, even giving flash drives.

An engineer at the University of Toronto has created a bluetooth enabled app to transfer fitness tracker data to doctors’ computers.

But our health care system is really behind the times with technology and securing data. A recent U.S. study showed that medicos could be the world’s best security bypassers. Recently three U.S. hospitals were hacked because they were still using Windows XP.

Before we start using this data for insurance or doctor’s visit, we need to be sure on how reliable and how secure is the data.

Skinny options

Fitness trackers are coming down in price all the time (for example the Microsoft Band started at $329 and is now down to $199) but that’s still not affordable for everyone.

Currently I use the Microsoft Band, I can afford to live in the West End of Vancouver which is very walkable and runnable. I average over 11,000 steps a day.

However the single mother with two kids and two part time jobs and who lives in suburbs where’s there no sidewalks doesn’t have the same healthy options. But she still needs life insurance. Is her life insurance going to go up (and become unaffordable) because of Vitality plans like Manulife?


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