Prepare for the digital health struggle

If you had the need for a piece of advice from a doctor, would you launch a super-app like WeChat to find one who could help you?

No matter what you say you would do, it is already happening in China, where WeDoctor is part of the WeChat overall experience. And working to be available “24/7 across the globe”.

Now, if you thought China and data protection was a dubious match in itself, think about how WeDoctor thinks about privacy and then think about it again when they start collecting your health information. Because, of course you will use such a service if it’s available, right?

Well, maybe YOU won’t. But many people like you will. Because we have developed a digital culture, where it’s so persuasive to just use what’s conveniently available here and now instead of truly thinking the potential consequences through before we act.

And not only for privacy. But also for trustworthiness.

That’s also one of the reasons why we have tons of regulation in place to ensure that even if you’re tempted to act before you really think, the risk is somewhat limited. But the good question then becomes what the real value of a lot of that regulation is if bending the rules is as simple as clicking a link in a Chinese app (or from some other less regulated place)?

Despite the efforts to develop regulation to fit the times, we live in – which I am all for – it will be interesting to watch the battle unfold between those who insist that we still have the highest bars for privacy, trustworthiness and ethics when it comes to peoples health and those that just want to commercially exploit an industry that is so ripe for new solutions.

I hope that trustworthiness, ethics and standards will prevail, as I remain absolutely convinced that outsize rules apply when you’re dealing with peoples health. But I am also realistic enough to know that the stakes and potential returns are so huge in this space that we will likely see an epic struggle in this space between good and…hhmm…not so good.

So buckle up and prepare. And remember to think it through before you just click that convenient link.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

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