Revisiting mHealth with Dr. Ruchi Dass, Part 1

Posted: July 12, 2012 in Expert Q&A, Industry Commentary, Mobile
Tags: , ,

In 2010, we spoke with Dr. Ruchi Dass,  on mobile health trends. We touched base with her again to find out, nearly two years later, what’s changed – and what’s on the horizon.

VPN Haus: We last spoke in 2010, what’s the dramatic change in mHealth since then?

Dr. Ruchi Dass: There is a lot of progress, promise and action since then. The World Health Organization (WHO) is tracking mHealth progress globally and is also examining the impact mobile networks and the Internet are already having on improving access to healthcare worldwide. WHO is also learning and conceptualizing ways to multiply reach moving forward, by surveying member states on their individual mHealth activities and concerns. One hundred twelve countries responded to the WHO call with 83% indicating they have already implemented at least one mHealth initiative. South East Asia, the Americas and Europe were the regions with the highest percentage of countries reporting initiatives.

VPN Haus: You mentioned when we last spoke, secure data in transit and authentication were the major security concerns surrounding mHealth. What strides have been made in mitigating these concerns and what challenges remain?

Dr. Dass: Interoperability is still a concern in the absence of proper standardisation methodologies. There are major security concerns related todata privacy, and hence, policies need to be put in place for achieving interoperability and implementing data standards amongst all facets of health IT integration, including clinical and non clinical information. To best leverage enterprise participation and potential of online/mobile networks data exchange; authentication systems often must collect and share personally identifiable information, raising potential risks to privacy. To mitigate the risks authentication systems raise, it is essential that they be designed to offer individuals control over their personal information by supporting traditional principles of fair information practices.

Ruchi Dass is CEO of HealthCursor Consulting based in India. 

Comments
  1. manavsahay says:

    wow great follow up there! neat. Yes problems still exist but as per the post a lot has gone better. from conceptualising systems we are now witnessing interoperability. looks like mHealth has come a long way. Thanks Dr Dass

  2. R K says:

    Security is generally defined as the extent to which personal information can be stored and
    transmitted in such a manner that access to the information is limited to authorized parties.
    The purpose of security is to protect the system and the information it contains from unauthorized access and abuse, both from without and from within.Many of today’s commercially available security technologies even have a highly adverse impact on the most important privacy principles, which deal with the ability of data subjects to limit the collection of identifiable information.

  3. ramakanth007 says:

    Note that “security safeguards” is only one of the eight principles; in other words, security safeguards are necessary to achieve privacy, but they are not sufficient. They do not even contribute to the most urgent pain point in the overall privacy picture, since they deal with protection against access by unauthorized outsiders, while most real life threats come from secondary use by insiders with authorized access.

  4. ruchibhatt says:

    Ironically, many of today’s commercially available security technologies even have a highly adverse impact on the most important privacy principles, which deal with the ability of data subjects to limit the collection of identifiable information. The deceitful nature of these security technologies is very similar to that of surveillance camera technology: while the risk of being assaulted in public places may go down by placing these areas under permanent camera surveillance, very few people would agree that such an intrusive measure increases their privacy. In fact, many will agree that it creates an electronic panopticon.

  5. Rao says:

    It is inspiring to know that WHO is also learning and conceptualizing ways to multiply reach moving forward, by surveying member states on their individual mHealth activities and concerns. Is there a link to some of these innovations where “One hundred twelve countries responded to the WHO call with 83% indicating they have already implemented at least one mHealth initiative. “

  6. bbmanty says:

    The problem is fair information practices. Most of the times both doctors and patients are clueless about these policies. Those who are aware don’t wish to abide by them anyways. Dr Dass, this is one question that authentication systems raise, that is the need to offer individuals control over their personal information by supporting traditional principles of fair information practices. I second you.

  7. George says:

    Correct. It is important to implement data standards amongst all facets of health IT integration, including clinical and non clinical information.The Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC) is an open, multidisciplinary, neutral, non-profit standards developing organization (SDO) that has been working through productive, consensus-based collaborative teams, since its formation in 1997, to develop global standards and innovations to streamline medical research and ensure a link with healthcare.

    The CDISC mission is “to develop and support global, platform-independent data standards that enable information system interoperability to improve medical research and related areas of healthcare.” The CDISC Vision is “informing patient care and safety through higher quality medical research.”, and its operational values are based on those of the Economy of Communion in Freedom. The CDISC suite of standards supports medical research of any type from protocol through analysis and reporting of results. They have been shown to decrease resources needed by 60% overall and 70-90% in the start-up stages when they are implemented at the beginning of the research process[citation needed]. They are harmonized through a model that is now not only a CDISC standard but also an HL7 standard on the path to becoming an ISO/CEN standard, thus giving the CDISC standards (harmonized together through BRIDG) international status and accreditation.

  8. Zinc004 says:

    I agree, authentication systems have to collect and share personally identifiable information, raising potential risks to privacy.. this is true.Interest in authentication systems has increased dramatically over the last two years.But widespread adoption of the technologies will only occur if individuals trust that strong privacy and security protections have been built into authentication systems.
    Through a consultative process a working group comprising of companies and public
    interest groups should draft a basic privacy principle that should be considered in the
    design and implementation of authentication systems. This principle could be used by
    companies developing authentication systems for guidance in building privacy and
    security protections into authentication technologies to use in consumer initiated
    transactions and government services. The principles would also serve as a marketplace
    guide for individuals and companies deciding which authentication system to implement
    or adopt.

  9. SHussain says:

    Thanks mHealth alliance for sharing this on your linkedin group and tweets. Good read.

  10. […] Revisiting mHealth with Dr. Ruchi Dass, Part 1 […]

  11. Jayw says:

    Healthcare providers are embracing mobility at a rapid rate to transform their business. Mobility enhances patient care and improves operational efficiency but must ensure adherence to stringent government regulatory standards. It is required that we make measures to monitor and enforce real-time data security, which is core to any HITECH/HIPAA interpretation, and satisfies the large and diverse user community of IT, healthcare professionals, and patients.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Good post. Thanks for sharing. May be that you can merge the two parts into one. I was going through this post when I read that HHS has proposed more security on healthcare mobile devices.In an attempt to eliminate the potential for patient data breaches on mobile devices, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Stage 2 Meaningful Use has proposed that mobile devices, such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets, that retain patient data after a clinical encounter should have default encryption enabled.Published by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Thursday, the proposed rule for Stage 2 Meaningful Use for the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs noted the increasing number of reported breaches which involve lost or stolen devices.The HHS Health IT Policy Committee recommended that health delivery organizations take action to review encryption practices of electronic protected health information as part of their risk analysis.
    The proposed measure comes amid several reports that confirm a significant number of patient data breaches have occurred due to the loss or theft of mobile devices. One study from the Ponemon Institute found that the frequency of patient data losses at healthcare organizations increased by 32% in 2011 compared to 2010, with 49% of respondents citing lost or stolen computing devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones.In the meantime, while the risk of patient data loss related to lost or stolen mobile devices has grown, the use of these devices is projected to rise. That trend was evident in the results of the 2012 HIMSS Leadership Survey. One of the questions asked of the 302 health IT professionals was about their top infrastructure priority. Eighteen percent said deploying mobile devices in their healthcare IT enterprise, which was a close second to the 19% of respondents who said their top priority is to deploy servers or virtual servers.

  13. Jiajie Zhang says:

    The uncertain regulatory environment spurs many interesting questions. For example, with regard to wearable sensors – which may provide data on heart rate, pulse, blood pressure, and so forth – can marketing proceed based on FCC approval alone? What if such devices were marketed purely as personal information devices, rather than medical devices, would FDA approval not be required? There are many sensors and related smartphone apps on the market already.

    And what if the wearable devices are implanted? This may seem futuristic but in fact it may not be far off. A near-term future of ubiquitous biosensors delivering critical data in real time is being promoted by the visionaries behind the X Prize, who recently teamed up with Nokia to create the Nokia Sensing X Challenge. Could an individual implant sensors into himself for personal monitoring, per the FCC allocated spectrum, but without regard to FDA? Not likely.

    Given the potentially grey area between a medical device and a personal information/communication device in the mHealth space, these questions are still open for debate.

  14. Bernhardt Reader says:

    In the next decade, information technology will drive health innovation, especially in developed regions such as the United States and Europe. Data integration has the potential to move health care forward. As more data from government and other sources become available, and we gain the ability to mine long-term data from Twitter and other sources, a lot of exciting discoveries can be made around health.

    For example, compiling and analyzing all Tweets that reference Type 2 diabetes could help researchers find predictive patterns of Type 2 diabetes patients’ most common medical concerns and health care choices, allowing physicians to better inform patients’ decisions.

    Geo-location technology in mobile phones will also contribute to the development of digital health. Bernhardt cites the example of how GPS could prove invaluable to a diet-tracking mobile phone application:If you are trying to manage your diet, we can track which foods you eat in which place. If lunchtime at work is when you’re eating unhealthy food, we can send you reminders an hour before lunch to eat a healthy lunch, or even nag you when you get to a fast food restaurant. In this manner, geo-location and mobile technology can be utilized to compile an individual’s data and send them custom-tailored information to promote health awareness.

    Major innovations in health technology may also arise in developing countries, where rapid growth of population, economy, and infrastructure will lead to unique new challenges in health care. Miller illustrated the scenario of a country such as India, which has both a large, rising middle class and a substantial low-income population, so that health care providers might need to address malnutrition and obesity simultaneously in one region. In order to address these new health needs, we must rethink the role of international organizations as partners rather than leaders in developing nations, with a focus on empowering local institutions and individuals to develop new health care delivery strategies.

  15. AmericanHealthJournal is seeking for partner blogs in the health care genre. AmericanHealthJournal is a medicine content site containing a significant library of high quality health care videos. We are seeking site owners who are interested in featuring our videos. We can offer content exchanges, link exchanges, and exposure to your site. Come contact us at our contact form on our site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s