Technologies are delivering health data more quickly. What risks should companies be aware of?

health data technology

Anyone can see that technology is making health care easier and faster. And people are eager to embrace it, as they wear devices that track their vital signs and movements around the clock, and order at-home genetic screening kits to learn about their DNA. On top of that, new advances in non-invasive testing and analysis mean patients can get a diagnosis more quickly than ever. 

As insurance brokers, we meet with many innovators of new technologies — technologies that are capable of processing and delivering health data more quickly and easily than ever. The innovators see themselves first and foremost as producers of new technology, and from their perspective, it’s easy to see all the good their new devices will bring. The developers of the at-home genetic test, for example, were probably thinking of all the people they’d help motivate to have cancer screenings. 

However, as insurance brokers, our job is to look ahead and map out the places and lives that will be touched by these technologies. We examine how having access to health data will transform people’s relationships with their bodies, their health care and their decisions. In doing so, we uncover outcomes and possibilities the innovators may not have considered otherwise.

Consider the genetic test again. Yes, it will no doubt motivate many patients to seek cancer screening. But what about the patients who feel reassured when their test results say they are low-risk? They may opt out of cancer screening, and what happens if this turns out to be a mistake? We look at this possibility, along with countless others, to help innovators and companies imagine the landscape ahead as medical-care providers introduce new technologies into their patients’ lives. 

Another area of risk in high-tech health care concerns data protection. As we look at how a given device accesses and shares data, and which protections are in place, if any, it comes as a surprise to technology companies that they need to consider whether they are abiding by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. 

For these innovators and tech start-ups, it is often an eye-opening exercise to work with our brokers to think so far beyond the basic functions of their technology. But the truth is these inventions land us in the realm of life sciences and influence how people seek medical care. 

While technology and new solutions are exciting, it’s important to consider the possible consequences down the line. This is why it’s crucial to partner with an experienced broker who can help you navigate those uncharted oceans. Because your business is unique, we at ABD look at the unique exposures that are, in some cases, very new to the marketplace, all while searching for a solution tailor-made for you.

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