The downside(s) of the Quantified Self

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‘Quantified self’ is the latest buzzy concept flying about eHealth–from Dr. Joseph Kvedar’s encouragement (‘From Couch Potato to Quantified Self’, HealthcareITNews 14 June) to Gary Wolf’s (Wired) sweeping-all-before-it statement that “people are reaching the realization/hope that personal data have personal meaning.” ‘Wellness’ products and services such as Zeo, FitBit, Philips DirectLife, Withings scales, BodyMedia, Partners Health’s own Healthrageous, a jillion smartphone health apps, GPS trackers and even Ford cars [TA 19 May] are taking full advantage–along with health incentive companies such as IncentOne which¬†are capturing and incentivizing 20 key biometrics and their improvements¬†(release) for health plans. While Ed. Donna applauds health awareness and personal responsibility (including alternative health), the self-absorption of some QS adherents has a whiff of stark raving narcissism about it all. But…there’s more. What happens to this data? Who gets to see–and inevitably profit–from it, because someone pays? What are the legal and privacy implications? And does it create economic pressure for individuals to release personal data, even though one would rather not? Are we looking at another area of regulation? Attorney and law professor Scott Peppet outlines the rather scary downside — and the upside–in Health 2.0 News. The Quantified Self: making the personal public