A recent California Healthcare Foundation report that studied the ways in which personal health information is tracked and used found that “while personal health information held by healthcare providers and insurers is protected under HIPAA, many other sources of consumer data are not covered and can be disclosed to third parties.” As the popularity of mobile applications and devices rises, consumers often inadvertently leave digital health marks behind.
While some are concerned about the ease in which third parties may be able to access this information, there are benefits to this plethora of data as well. Even if it isn’t technically health information, it can provide greater understanding of patient trends and habits. Deven McGraw, partner at Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, explained that while the FICO Medical Adherence Score is based on demographic information, rather than health data, it gives great insight into medication adherence. “Digital dust can have health implications even if the ‘dust’ is devoid of actual health information.”