Article | May 22, 2020

Guiding Privacy Principles for Personal Health and Wellness Information

Personal health and wellness technologies continue to grow and advance, providing consumers with unprecedented access to health care information and tools.

To drive further innovation, tech companies in the health and wellness ecosystem must maintain consumers’ trust by prioritizing the stewardship of their data.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® report Guiding Principles on the Privacy of Personal Health and Wellness Information was created by a wide range of CTA members including Doctor on Demand, Embleema, Humetrix, IBM and Validic, and provides five baseline recommendations for data collection, use and sharing. By incorporating a standardized set of privacy principles into their technologies and practices, innovators can mitigate perceived risks among consumers and engender the trust that leads to brand loyalty.

Here are two of the principles guiding companies through communicating with their consumers and putting consumers first.

Be open and transparent about the personal health information you collect and why.

CTA recommends drafting a privacy policy that explains how you collect, use and share consumer data, including personal health information. The policy should be written in clear, easy to understand language.

By using user-friendly formats that are easily accessible across platforms, companies can ensure that customers have the opportunity to review and understand how their information is being used before they share it.

As privacy policies are reviewed and updated, communicate about changes and how they might affect the customer. This gives customers a chance to accept or acknowledge those updates that affect them, which cultivates trust.

Make it easy for consumers to access and control the sharing of their personal health information and empower them to do so.

Apps and devices should include steps for consumers to communicate their preferences about how their data is used and shared to protect their privacy. By building consumer-facing privacy settings and making them easy to find and change, companies help consumers exercise choice in their data privacy.

As health technologies continue to improve, companies can adopt emerging technologies that enhance the consumer’s ability to access and control their information.

CTA’s guiding principles on privacy are voluntary, but companies may publicly commit or attest to compliance with these principles through their own marketing materials. And though they are designed for personal health information, they may also guide your practices with other sensitive consumer data.

Access the full Guiding Principles for the Privacy of Personal Health and Wellness Information to see all five privacy principles and how standard policies can increase consumers’ trust. 

Full Report

Guiding Principles on the Privacy of Personal Health and Wellness Information

The Consumer Technology Association recommends that companies incorporate these guiding principles on privacy into their technologies and practices. Awareness of these principles through a technology's development and deployment stages may help mitigate risks that consumers may perceive with respect to their personal health information.