- Make the decision to be HITRUST-certified and protect user data.
- Make the decision to put users first before monetization.
- Make the decision to be evidence-based, justifying your claims with research.
Data brokers then aggregate this deidentified health information and sell it to third party buyers; for example Adam Tanner of the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science estimates that a large pharmaceutical company might pay between $10 million and $40 million per year for data, consulting and services from Iqvia alone.
In an age where it’s becoming harder and harder to trust technology with your personal information, the burden of care falls on the companies that create these products to put their users' best interests first, before monetization and/or growth. It's their responsibility to supply the consumer with products they want and establish an ethical monetization strategy that allows those products to succeed. For example, some companies have decided to sell user data to brands or organizations and are making significant revenue from doing so; my company has made the decision not to do this from the get-go because we decided it wouldn’t be in the best interest of our users. For companies that don’t think about this from the start, it can be a slippery slope. Though you can play it fast and loose in tech, you can’t do so in health tech because the business relies on building and sustaining the trust of your users.
When you’re aiming to improve behavior by helping someone become healthier or helping to keep a good habit on track, you need to have proof that your solution is working. Digital health companies that want to get credit for helping people make positive changes in their lifestyles or have healthier outcomes need to make the decision to be evidence-based and invest in peer-reviewed research. There are many ways to do this: Your company can partner with outside research organizations or create a clinical research team in-house that works on independent, peer-reviewed research. Investors (and users or clients) need to know that your product is doing what you say it is doing, and the best way to validate that is through research. This feedback loop is also vital to product enhancements and new product development.
At the end of the day, it’s all up to the company to ensure it is putting the user first and prioritizing data privacy and security. Companies that prioritize being HITRUST-certified, put their users before monetization strategy or revenue, and invest in clinical, evidence-based research will go the distance and, most importantly, help the most people.Forbes Boston Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners in Greater Boston. Do I qualify?