Health on the Go: Medical Apps, Privacy, and Liability
April 4, 2014
8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Free conference, eligible for 5.25 hours of IL MCLE Credit.
Five hundred million people will use a health app by 2015 and the use of health apps will increase by 25% yearly. But what are the privacy and legal implications of Health on the Go?
About the Conference
The digital world presents new opportunities to improve your health. It’s now possible for your every movement, every intonation in your voice, every phone call you dial or receive, and every website you visit to be tracked, documented and analyzed to create your health profile. From maximizing your personal health and identifying public health trends to fueling a new sector of the economy, health information from apps, social networks and games is shaping our lives. And as our digital health data grow, the need to address the legal, medical and social implications becomes increasingly important.
Join us on Friday, April 4, as IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law in partnership with UIC School of Public Health brings together medical app developers, lawyers, regulators and health care professionals to discuss privacy and policy considerations for a public increasingly dependent on “Health on the Go.” The conference will discuss the laws and regulations dealing with the collection and use of health information outside the health care system. It will also address current federal and state investigations into data aggregation and medical apps.
Researchers, data aggregators, health care providers, public health professionals, pharmaceutical companies and marketers can predict—with high accuracy—everything from where the next flu outbreak will occur to when someone with bipolar disorder will have a manic episode. Predictors of health can be gleaned from non-medical information individuals disclose in mobile apps, games and social networks, as well as the passive data our mobile devices collect—including movement, geographic location, call registries and voice analysis. In addition to digital disclosures made for other purposes, people also increasingly use health and fitness apps which collect medically-related data more directly. Twenty-seven percent of internet users are self-trackers, developing online data sets of items such as their weight, food intake, physical activity, mood, blood glucose levels and medications.
Over half of smartphone owners use their devices to get health information and roughly one-fifth have health apps. Eighty percent of internet users have looked online for information concerning health, such as medical conditions, pregnancy, memory loss and medical test results. Of the 62% of U.S. adult internet users who use social networking sites, fifteen percent have found health information on a social network. Five million Facebook users in the United States have "liked" a health organization. The wealth of health information concerning individuals can be used to further a person's health and other interests or it can be used to crush an individual's opportunities.
There are a number of benefits of apps, social networks and games used for health purposes. These platforms can improve control of chronic health conditions, engage individuals in health promoting activities, provide support networks, act as information hubs and hold users accountable for their health. When the information is used collectively, it can improve the public's health by informing policies and developing better treatment protocols. Tracing people's movements and behavior patterns online and offline can be helpful to identify infectious disease outbreaks at quicker speeds than traditional reporting mechanisms; geographic clusters of non-communicable diseases; hotspots for asthma attacks; the impending onset of an episode of schizophrenia or depression; or a flare up of a patient's irritable bowel syndrome. There are also risks: clinical and medical information can be inaccurate, conflicts of interest may remain concealed, health information may not remain private or anonymous, users can lose all control and ownership of their data and their digital data can be used against them.
Federal and state laws and regulations have been implemented to safeguard our health information, including the privacy regulations adopted pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. But health disclosures on social networks, health-related games and most medical apps are not protected by these laws, which generally apply only to health information in the hands of health care professionals and health care institutions. The conference will explore the current regulatory mechanisms that protect privacy, including the roles of the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission with respect to medical apps, medical games, and online searches.
Lori Andrews, JD
Director, Institute for Science, Law and Technology
Distinguished Professor of Law, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
George Annas, JD, MPH
Chair of the Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights
William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor, Boston Univeristy
Sarah Blenner, JD, MPH
Director, Center for Diabetes Research and Policy, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
Ben Gerber, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Illinois College of Medicine
Erik Jones, JD
Director, Policy Bureau, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
Scott A. Kamber, JD
Managing Partner, KamberLaw, LLC
Melanie Tiano, JD
Investigative Counsel for the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, U.S. Senate
Yan Zhang, PhD
Assistant Professor, School of Information, University of Texas at Austin
President, Association for Competitive Technology (ACT)
Representing the App Community
Additional Speakers to be announced.
There is no cost to attend, but registration is required.
For more information, contact Colleen Canniff at email@example.com.