Mobile Health Marketing
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Apple Researches How Watch Can Monitor Parkinson’s

Apple Researches How Watch Can Monitor Parkinson’s | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is making efforts to passively track and monitor patients with Parkinson's disease symptoms with iPhone and Apple Watch. The collected data will then be used to better facilitate management of medicines for such patients.Long before Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) officially launched its Apple Watch, various rumors publicized that the device might be used as a miraculous medical gadget. It was also speculated that the smartwatch would be able to go afar to the likes of what current smartwatches and fitness trackers can do. However, in reality, it didn’t sport such rumored features, but now, it seems that the Cupertino-based giant is making efforts to get there.
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Orthanc : now implementation of DICOM Server for microscopic imaging

Orthanc : now implementation of DICOM Server for microscopic imaging | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it
The Orthanc project is delighted to announce that it now provides a reference, lightweight implementation of DICOM for whole-slide microscopic imaging (digital pathology).
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China’s Digital Healthcare Dreams

China’s Digital Healthcare Dreams | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it
China’s healthcare sector is dogged by several challenges. Can tech companies and digital healthcare ease out the situation?In late January, a video clip shot at Beijing’s Guang’anmen Hospital went viral on Chinese social media. In the video, a girl accused scalpers of charging RMB 4,500 to get her an appointment with a specialist, 15 times the actual fee for consulting that doctor. The girl had come to Beijing all the way from northern China just to meet a reputed doctor face-to-face. But getting a consultation was impossible. She was furious at how hospital scalpers, guards and counter staff were all bullying hapless patients into coughing up large sums of money.
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89% of US physicians would recommend a health app to a patient

89% of US physicians would recommend a health app to a patient | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it

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Scott Normandin's comment, May 16, 2014 10:24 PM
the question begs: is/are applications that make access to health care the domain of the younger generation, or as some would content, are applications an additional level of complication to our senior population. Personal experience from the lens of my parents is that "absent" a vetted and universally adopted application that supports a universal view for all, this may by perceived as the "new best new toy" and fade with time. Our seniors; albeit are digital immigrants, working their way into the development of new technologies clumsily, whereas Gen X/Y find the technology adaptable, available and importantly expendable when the next best thing comes available. What defines consumerization: speed of development and release, or the ability to support end users?
Scott Normandin's comment, May 16, 2014 10:24 PM
the question begs: is/are applications that make access to health care the domain of the younger generation, or as some would content, are applications an additional level of complication to our senior population. Personal experience from the lens of my parents is that "absent" a vetted and universally adopted application that supports a universal view for all, this may by perceived as the "new best new toy" and fade with time. Our seniors; albeit are digital immigrants, working their way into the development of new technologies clumsily, whereas Gen X/Y find the technology adaptable, available and importantly expendable when the next best thing comes available. What defines consumerization: speed of development and release, or the ability to support end users?
Mes Bons PLans's comment, January 22, 12:45 PM
une question qui n'apporte pas toutes les réponses. des profs avaient identifié les thèmes à venir dans leur blog : https://www.blouse-medicale.fr/blog/38_e-sante-quel-avenir
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How to Leverage Digital Marketing & Measure ROMI in Healthcare

How to Leverage Digital Marketing & Measure ROMI in Healthcare | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it

Digital marketing is rapidly gaining popularity across all industries – including healthcare – now that the majority of consumers use the Internet to find information and connect with brands. According to a Pew Research report, 72 percent of Internet users say they looked online for health information within the past year, and 53 percent of those searchers then talked to a clinician about what they found online. In today’s online landscape, there is a great opportunity in healthcare to use digital marketing to educate, inspire, motivate, and engage target audiences. Unfortunately, the healthcare industry is lagging two years behind other industries in their digital marketing efforts. The State of Digital Marketing in Healthcare in 2015 study, for example, found only 50 percent of senior healthcare marketers use a CRM system, a centralized hub of patient information critical for targeting and engaging the right patient communities. This doesn’t mean that healthcare marketers don’t see the value in digital marketing. Seventy-six percent of those surveyed believe that digital marketing is essential to brand building. What’s more, half of respondents plan on upgrading or changing their CMS platform and plan on redesigning their website within the next year to align with digital marketing efforts. But why, exactly, is digital marketing so important in the healthcare industry? Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons: Increase Reach As noted in an Advice Media article, the healthcare industry can amplify its audience reach through digital marketing tactics such as search engine marketing, social media, and mobile marketing. Hospitals and other healthcare providers that employ search marketing techniques, such as website optimization, will rank higher in search results, and therefore be seen by more Internet users. Especially in the healthcare industry, there is high competition for search traffic. In order to rank higher than nearby hospitals or healthcare institutions, keyword research is beneficial to find queries that patients could be using to find an organization or its services. Choosing relevant keywords for website pages, landing pages, social media, and blog posts can help a health organization’s pages rank higher than the competition in search results. In addition to search marketing, social media also allows healthcare providers to more effectively reach customers with relevant health information. In fact, 92 percent of consumers say they trust social media and recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of marketing or advertising, especially for health information and health provider recommendations. It’s important to note that patients who search the Internet and engage on social media are often accessing these platforms on their smartphones. Patients are looking for both information and a good user experience when they interact with a hospital or healthcare provider online, so the healthcare industry needs to start strengthening their mobile presence; at present, only 33 percent of healthcare marketers consider a mobile strategy to be “essential.” Instead of creating a separate mobile site, hospitals could also implement a responsive site design that adapts to the screen size of the device the site is being viewed on. This way, patients and physicians will see a consistent digital experience that flows from mobile to tablet and desktop. Personalize Messaging In order to fully leverage digital marketing channels in today’s fast-paced healthcare landscape, however, healthcare professionals need to have the right data in place to target patient and consumer messaging accordingly. It all comes back to big data. This is where a healthcare CRM comes into play – with consumer data access at their fingertips, healthcare marketers can determine patient communication preferences in order to make the greatest impact. A healthcare analytics platform allows healthcare organizations to target consumers based on specific demographic, social, and behavioral information. The end result? Patients who are ultimately engaged in their own care. Consumer data shows that some patients prefer accessing information on websites or patient portals, while others prefer social media or mobile apps. A personalized communication strategy, grounded in patient information collected and analyzed in the CRM system, can help to attract, engage, and retain patients and physicians. Ideally, hospitals will be able to anticipate health issues and improve quality of care overall with the help of customer data. Measure Performance As noted above, digital marketing can help healthcare marketers increase reach and personalize messaging, but a fundamental challenge still exists: How do marketers prove the return on marketing investment (ROMI) of these efforts? With today’s healthcare landscape shifting from traditional to digital marketing, the stakes are higher than ever. As hospital marketers find themselves on the hook for attracting and retaining patients, hospital executives are holding marketing departments accountable for the success of their digital campaigns, measured in terms of specific metrics. Cosmetic metrics (i.e., number of site visits and page views, etc.) can provide value, but the true value comes when specific metrics are aligned with key performance indicators. Conversions are one example of an accurate metric to show the ROMI in healthcare. Conversion goals can be as simple as getting qualified leads into a CRM. Evariant helps clients increase conversions by creating tightly managed ad groups and varied CTAs to be implemented where it’s most relevant. Take, for example, a user who searches “knee pain” versus “knee replacement surgery.” The former is directed to a downloadable guide page while the latter (a more urgent case) is directed to an appointment form. Hospitals and healthcare providers can see greater conversions from these sorts of targeted marketing efforts. The ability to access metrics and data in real time with a CRM allows healthcare professionals to shift marketing tactics quickly and effectively in order to better reach marketing goals. Despite the opportunity for healthcare marketers to focus on conversion KPIs, the majority is still focused on traffic metrics, however. More than 70 percent of respondents in The State of Digital Marketing in Healthcare survey have established number of unique visitors, number of page views, and growth of website visitors as digital KPIs. Only 59 percent and 55 percent, respectively, use request for service via website and conversion rates as KPIs. Final Thoughts The healthcare industry has the potential to increase their reach and effectively engage consumers with digital marketing tactics. A CRM gives them access to customer data, which healthcare professionals can use to create targeted messaging and reach patients across a variety of online channels. The challenge, however, comes from attributing a measurable ROMI to digital marketing efforts. Marketers need to be able to understand the success (or failure) of digital campaigns and shift messaging and/or channels accordingly in order to reach conversion goals. What’s more, healthcare organizations need to be able to compete in an increasingly Internet-based world and cater to patients and consumers searching for information online. The end goal is, of course, to find more patients and engage existing patients, resulting in improved patient outcomes – and a healthier society – overall. - See more at: http://www.evariant.com/blog/digital-marketing-important-to-healthcare#sthash.Z44HwUtG.dpuf


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The Problem of Artificial Willpower

The Problem of Artificial Willpower | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it
“The ethical threat posed by Adderall and other drugs that improve motivation”
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Mobile Healthcare Is Coming – Infographic

Mobile Healthcare Is Coming – Infographic | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it
“Is mobile healthcare and health apps the future?“Mobile health, loosely defined as the practice of medicine and public health, supported by mobile devices is projected to be a 26 billion dollar industry by 2017!”With that one stat I would say the answer is YES.Here is a quick breakdown of the Mobile Health apps that are leading the way.Weight loss apps (50 million downloads)Exercise apps (26.5 million)Women’s health apps (10.5 million)Sleep & meditation apps (8 million)Pregnancy apps (7.5 million)Tools & Instruments apps (6 millionDoctors are loving the health apps as well.80% of physicians use smartphones and medical apps.40% believe mHealth technologies can reduce the number of visits to doctors’ office.93% believe that these apps can improve patient’s health.”
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Jim Murphy's curator insight, October 14, 2015 7:48 AM

#mhealth gives you a where you are - when you are channel that is pretty much unbeatable. #@people apps will win the day 

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58% of Smartphone Owners Download & Use Mobile Health Apps

58% of Smartphone Owners Download & Use Mobile Health Apps | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it
The findings from this study illustrate that mHealth app developers will need to consider some of the consumer concerns regarding the products such as excessive data entry requirements and the associated costs.Smartphone users seem to have a high regard for mobile health apps, especially those focused on providing diet and fitness support. A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research shows that 58 percent of surveyed mobile phone users have downloaded at least one mobile health app onto their device.
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Jim Murphy's curator insight, November 8, 2015 2:43 PM

Takes more than just the app  #userexerience #value #care

Angelina Anzalone's curator insight, November 27, 2015 6:02 PM
This article discusses the somewhat of a decline in mobile health apps. Mobile health apps ted to cost a pretty penny and require users to enter a lot of information/data when using the apps. This has caused a slight decline in those who want to purchase these apps and users who don't want to waste so much time entering information. 

I personally feel that these two factors that are turning people away from these apps is a huge concern when it comes to the internet and these types of technologies. Apps should be constructed to be cost efficient and user friendly so that people will be more likely to partake in them. This in turn will allow for more people to partake in internet usage. 
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IBM buys Merge for $1 billion, gives Watson medical imaging heft

IBM buys Merge for $1 billion, gives Watson medical imaging heft | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it
IBM said it will acquire Merge Healthcare for $1 billion in a move that will enable its Watson cognitive computing system the ability to see medical images.Merge's platform is used to handle and process medical images at more than 7,500 healthcare sites. The company also has clinical systems.For Big Blue, the acquisition highlights how healthcare is the most important industry for commercializing Watson. While Watson has applications across multiple industries, healthcare provides the most immediate pop.
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Wearables 2015: Defining digital medicine

Wearables 2015: Defining digital medicine | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it
“ Digital medicine is poised to transform biomedical research, clinical practice and the commercial sector. Here we introduce a monthly column from R&D/venture creation firm PureTech tracking digital medicine's emergence.”

Technology has already transformed the social fabric of life in the twenty-first century. It is now poised to profoundly influence disease management and healthcare. Beyond the hype of the 'mobile health' and 'wearable technology' movement, the ability to monitor our bodies and continuously gather data about human biology suggests new possibilities for both biomedical research and clinical practice. Just as the Human Genome Project ushered in the age of high-throughput genotyping, the ability to automate, continuously record, analyze and share standardized physiological and biological data augurs the beginning of a new era—that of high-throughput human phenotyping.

These advances are prompting new approaches to research and medicine, but they are also raising questions and posing challenges for existing healthcare delivery systems. How will these technologies alter biomedical research approaches, what types of experimental questions will researchers now be able to ask and what types of training will be needed? Will the ability to digitize individual characteristics and communicate by mobile technology empower patients and enable the modification of disease-promoting behaviors; at the same time, will it threaten patient privacy? Will doctors be prescribing US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-cleared apps on a regular basis, not just to monitor and manage chronic disease but also to preempt acute disease episodes? Will the shift in the balance between disease treatment and early intervention have a broad economic impact on the healthcare system? How will the emergence of these new technologies reshape the healthcare industry and its underlying business models? What will be the defining characteristics of 'winning' products and companies?

These are just some of the questions we plan to ask over the coming months. In the meantime, we introduce here some of the key themes shaping R&D in the digital medicine field and focus on what they might mean for the biopharmaceutical and diagnostic/device industries.


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Ed Crowley's curator insight, May 17, 2015 8:30 AM

Wearable medical technology is quickly changing the potential for health research, and with IoT, health management. 

Be-Bound®'s curator insight, May 18, 2015 9:54 AM

And this is just the beginning ! 

Kim Flintoff's curator insight, April 12, 2016 3:04 AM
Big data is impacting on every industry. Health and personal monitoring devices are increasingly linked and the questions raised in this piece tie together big data, computational thinking and IoT considerations. Shrugging in exasperation is less helpful than modelling innovative new apporahces to problem-solving. Therein lies some of the promise of a data-driven culture.
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Most mHealth App Users, Providers Say Apps Improve Quality of Life - iHealthBeat

Most mHealth App Users, Providers Say Apps Improve Quality of Life - iHealthBeat | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it
“A new survey shows 96% of mobile health application users and medical professionals believe mobile health apps "improve their quality of life."”

Meanwhile, 86% of providers surveyed said mobile health apps will improve their knowledge of patients' medical conditions.

For the survey, researchers polled 1,000 mobile health app users and 500 medical professionals.

Overall, the survey found that 96% of surveyed mobile health users and medical professionals said that mobile health apps "improve their quality of life."

Among mobile health app users, the survey found:

- 60% use apps to monitor activity/workouts (Gruessner, mHealth Intelligence, 6/12); - 53% use apps as motivation to exercise; - 49% use apps to record calorie intake; and - 42% use apps to monitor weight loss (Research Now survey, June 2015).

Among surveyed health care professionals, the survey showed:

- 86% knowledge believe mobile health apps will increase their of their patients' medical conditions; - 76% believe the apps will help patients with chronic disease management (mHealth Intelligence, 6/12); - 61% believe the apps will help those who are at a high risk of developing health issues; - 55% believe the apps could help healthy individuals stay healthy; - 48% believe the apps could help patients recently discharged from a hospital; and - 46% believe the apps will improve their relationship with their patients.

more at http://www.ihealthbeat.org/articles/2015/6/15/most-mhealth-app-users-providers-feel-apps-improve-quality-of-life


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Wearables, Big Data and Analytics in Healthcare

Wearables, Big Data and Analytics in Healthcare | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it
“ Healthcare organisations are exploring ways to use wearable devices to simplify, transform and accelerate patient-centric care.”
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Becoming a socially-active pharmaceutical company

Becoming a socially-active pharmaceutical company | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it

What a difference a year makes. Over the last 12 months we have been consciously positioning ourselves to be one of the most socially active pharmaceutical companies, by integrating social media marketing to engage patients.

During this time a lot of people have started asking what's happening with LEO Pharma Spain. Some of LEO Pharma Spain's Social Media profiles have become some of the biggest influencers in world health days, in Spanish and at international dermatology congresses.

In Spain, LEO is at the top of the rankings of influencers in Klout when compared to other big pharmaceutical companies, even reaching the same level as some leading international pharmaceutical accounts.

LEO's digital department only started one year ago, with a YouTube channel and a Twitter account, but we had a clear digital strategy to understood that if the focus is the patient then we had to listen to them and situate ourselves where their conversations were taking place.

People discovered that we are more than just a pharma company, in fact, we also help people achieve healthy skin when we develop the best possible solutions for patients and go beyond thinking only about physical products.

It was during World Psoriasis Day 2014 that I really understood what it meant to be patient-centred. Then I had a conversation with a person who had psoriasis on Facebook. Instead of talking about the treatments she uses she instead focused on her constant battle with the skin condition, and thanked me for LEO's awareness campaign.

But a company cannot have a significant social media presence if its employees aren't active users of a social network, as they play an important role in patient and HCP communication.

It's similarly impossible for a company's directors, and regulatory and legal departments, to be engaged if they don't understand and use social media.

At LEO Pharma Spain everyone contributes to communication, and this approach has allowed us to build a strong corporate reputation in social media as we engage with our audience at different levels and through different channels.

Patients want access to healthcare information via social media, and most importantly, they want to be heard by pharma. Healthcare professionals have become increasingly active on social media and, in my opinion, pharmaceutical companies have an important role to play here. That's why LEO Pharma Spain wants to break the traditional pharmaceutical approach through a more active use of social media.

In a short time LEO Pharma has reached the biggest Klout in Spain From the 187 pharma companies associated with the local industry association Farmaindustria, LEO Pharma has the most active Social Media profiles, whether those be its blog, or accounts on Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook,YouTube, Linkedin or Pinterest - it is also the first Spain pharma company to have an Instagram profile.

Recently we won the Premios ASPID award for our #DescubreLaPsoriasis(#DiscoverThePsoriasis) social media campaign. With this campaign, we wanted to increase awareness of this disease so that people who suffer from Psoriasis could feel better understood by society by focusing on three key messages: psoriasis is not contagious; psoriasis affects 2 out of every 100 people; and psoriasis is a chronical disease, but it can be controlled.

As a result of our efforts, the campaign became viral on various social media networks and we reached an audience of 11 million people, had more than 6,000 photos and videos published, had 60,000 user interactions and received 30,000 video views.

However, the greatest achievement was managing to let the patients feel that society rallies around them more and that this little known disease is known a bit better.


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Marta Gonzalez's curator insight, July 27, 2015 6:02 PM

#m5iteumh #miscoopit

Marta Gonzalez's curator insight, July 27, 2015 6:03 PM

#m5iteumh #miscoopit

Pascal Kerhervé's curator insight, July 29, 2015 10:47 AM

Interesting case on how #Pharma is using Social Media to increase disease awareness #DiscoverThePsoriasis

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Here is Apple's smart plan for digital health

Here is Apple's smart plan for digital health | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it
Apple is developing a truly connected health ecosystem, from the patient to the practioner and all the way to the data insight gold mine
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How a 24-Year-Old Used Social Media to Help 14,000 Patients Get Access to Blood on Time

How a 24-Year-Old Used Social Media to Help 14,000 Patients Get Access to Blood on Time | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it

“More than 60% of the population in India can donate blood right now, but not many people donate. I wanted to help solve this problem by coming up with a channel that would make it easier for people to arrange for blood,” says 24-year-old Raghav Baldwa who runs a Facebook page names Blood Sure to help patients and their families.

Raghav, a resident of Indore, was in college when he noticed how big a problem it is for many to arrange blood at the right time.

His father, who has donated blood about 70 times till now, used to get several calls from people asking for help. “The problem I saw was that many blood banks charge fees as high as Rs. 3,500 per pint of blood. This is not affordable for patients from low-income backgrounds,” says Raghav who went on to start a Facebook page named Blood Donors of Indore.

He started by motivating people to donate blood, gathering data of frequent blood donors, putting up requests from people looking for donors on social media platforms, asking his friends to share their blood groups and phone numbers so he could call when needed, etc.

This was in September 2012. Today, his Facebook page has been renamed to Blood Sure and he has helped over 14,000 people across the country.

He also has a data bank with contact details of over 70,000 frequent donors. He collected these details from various social media platforms, WhatsApp groups, etc.

Whenever he gets a request, Raghav posts the requirement on Facebook and Twitter tagging people he knows can help share the word. 75% of the requests are fulfilled online. For those where people don’t get any response, Raghav personally messages or calls donors and asks for donations. He also gets contact requests from other individuals and organizations that are helping patients arrange for blood. In the future, Raghav wants to launch an app with geotagging features to help people contact donors.

Raghav, who has himself donated blood about 20 times, says that he does this simply with the purpose of solving a social problem.

He organises blood donation camps in colleges, company campuses, etc. and all the collected blood is donated to a hospital for Thalassemia patients in Indore.

Raghav is currently working on two startup ideas related to organic food and patient management system for doctors.

“I once got a request from Sehore near Bhopal. The guy was asking for help for his father because he did not have the money to give to any blood bank. I shared his request on social media and he called back to thank me for playing an indirect role in saving his father. Many parents whose children are suffering from Thalassemia also call to thank me. These are the things that keep me motivated to work more,” he says.


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Wearables are Improving Clinical Trial Research

Wearables are Improving Clinical Trial Research | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it

The face of individual health care is changing and improving, thanks to wearables. Wearable health and fitness devices are becoming more popular by the day and with our mobile devices and wearables prompting us to keep up with good health habits, overall health is improving too. As individuals are more aware of their health, more steps are being taken to make improvements such as staying more active, eating healthier, drinking more water, and remembering to take medications on time. Just as impressive as the idea of users taking better care of themselves is the projected growth for wearables. Estimates put the industry over $173 billion by 2020.

Just as individuals are using wearables and mobile fitness devices to monitor their health and make improvements, clinical trial companies are able to improve upon the quality and volume of data they are collecting. Wearable electronics have the potential to make data collection more often and accurate, and reduce costs. As the wearable industry grows, the potential for application in clinical trials also will increase.

Clinical trials are able to collect data from wearables in a number of ways. While smart watches and wristband wearables are most popular, there are other wearable technologies that will come to the forefront for both healthcare and clinical trials. Smart fabrics, intelligent sensors, ingestables, and even smart contact lenses are all emerging into the wearables market. One of the possible negative aspects of some wearable electronics is that they require user input, which leaves room for errors or misreporting. As new technologies come on the market, they may be able to close this gap. Ingestibles have recently been approved by the FDA and are able to monitor electrocardiogram activity, diagnostic imaging and more (definitely more than vitals measured with wristband devices). The future of ingestibles is positive as they will be able to monitor blood levels, medication levels, and other internal factors that previously would require a doctor's visit or lab blood draw. These types of new wearables don’t require in-clinic monitoring and less visits. Data will also be able to be transmitted remotely.

Just as Apple technology has paved the way with other technologies in the past, the future of wearables appears to rest again with Apple, especially in the area of clinical trials. In 2015, Apple launched The Research Kit, an application that comes with the Apple Watch. The application allows users to download clinical apps and the data collected is anonymized. Instantly, millions of users can learn about clinical trials and opt in to participate through the data that is already collected through their smartphone. John Wilbanks’, the developer of a Parkinson’s App for The Research Kit called mPower is quoted as saying “After six hours, we have 7,406 people enrolled in our Parkinson’s study. Largest one ever before was 1.700 people.” Bloomberg reported that Stanford University’s cardiovascular trial attracted more volunteers in one day after releasing their MyHeart Counts App than it would normally acquire in a year. (Data from ClinicalLeader.com.) As Apple Watch sensors and measurement tools improve along with the rest of the industry, the potential for obtaining big and better data to answer important healthcare questions increases as well.


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The Ultimate Guide to Writing Epic Content That Will Go Viral

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Epic Content That Will Go Viral | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it

In order to increase organic traffic, acquire more leads, and grow revenue, you need to continually produce quality content.

Data from DemandGen Report shows that 67% of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make B2B purchasing decisions than they did a year ago.

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer, you know that “good” content isn’t enough to grow your business. You have to go way beyond “good.” You have to make your readers’ lives better in some way. In short, you need to “create epic content.”...


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Jeff Domansky's curator insight, February 26, 2016 10:54 AM

Neil Patel shares tips on epic content. Recommended reading. 9/10

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2016 Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet

2016 Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it

Great infoSocial media is an ever-changing beast. You almost can’t have a business in this day and age without a presence in the online world and specifically, at least, one of the big eight social media sites. Gone are the days where only teens frequented MySpace to chat with friends. Social media is here to stay, and people are looking online for your business so you’d better present your best.


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Jeff Domansky's curator insight, January 9, 2016 1:39 PM

Simply useful!

Jeff Domansky's curator insight, January 12, 2016 11:12 PM

Here's an excellent guide to sizing visuals for various social media channels. Recommended reading. 9.5/10

Philippe Trebaul's curator insight, March 20, 2016 4:35 PM

Here's an excellent guide to sizing visuals for various social media channels. Recommended reading. 9.5/10

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Scanadu CEO: Algorithms will replace docs to prescribe meds

Scanadu CEO: Algorithms will replace docs to prescribe meds | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it
“Scanadu CEO Walter De Brouwer played digital health provocateur during a talk at this week’s Transforming Medicine: Evidence-driven Mhealth conference at Scripps Translational Science Institute. The future of healthcare involves commoditizing the patient. Or rather, as he put it, the consumer.Some background: Scanadu is developing a Jetsonian device that monitors bodily functions and vital signs; it relied initially on crowdfunding to kick off production. So, given the company’s forward-looking bent, De Brouwer highlighted the following concepts that he projects will be important over the next five years:”
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58% of Smartphone Owners Download & Use Mobile Health Apps

58% of Smartphone Owners Download & Use Mobile Health Apps | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it
The findings from this study illustrate that mHealth app developers will need to consider some of the consumer concerns regarding the products such as excessive data entry requirements and the associated costs.Smartphone users seem to have a high regard for mobile health apps, especially those focused on providing diet and fitness support. A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research shows that 58 percent of surveyed mobile phone users have downloaded at least one mobile health app onto their device.
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Jim Murphy's curator insight, November 8, 2015 2:43 PM

Takes more than just the app  #userexerience #value #care

Angelina Anzalone's curator insight, November 27, 2015 6:02 PM
This article discusses the somewhat of a decline in mobile health apps. Mobile health apps ted to cost a pretty penny and require users to enter a lot of information/data when using the apps. This has caused a slight decline in those who want to purchase these apps and users who don't want to waste so much time entering information. 

I personally feel that these two factors that are turning people away from these apps is a huge concern when it comes to the internet and these types of technologies. Apps should be constructed to be cost efficient and user friendly so that people will be more likely to partake in them. This in turn will allow for more people to partake in internet usage. 
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Upwardly mobile: Pharma opportunities in mHealth - PMLiVE

Upwardly mobile: Pharma opportunities in mHealth - PMLiVE | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it

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Oncology hashtag project leads to a sarcoma hashtag with rallying cry for more treatment options

Oncology hashtag project leads to a sarcoma hashtag with rallying cry for more treatment options | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it

What do you get when you combine social media, an oncology hashtag project to provide better educational resources for patients and connect patients with physicians in this specialty and a patient population that sees few treatment options geared to them? The development of a new cancer community around sarcoma patients, #scmsm

Matthew Katz (aka @subatomicdoc) is a a radiation oncologist who founded Rad Nation, a community of radiation oncologists.

One of the ways #scmsm members have used the new handle is to amplify their push for more drug options designed specifically for sarcoma patients with an appreciation of the diverse variations on the rare condition. Although there are 50 different types of sarcoma, only one drug is designed for one of these subtypes but is used for the others and it was developed more than 30 years ago..

About 15,000 new cases of sarcoma are diagnosed each year. Sarcoma accounts for 15 percent of childhood cancer cases but only about one percent of adult cases.

The fact that these hashtags include specialist physician insights along with voices from patients make it stand out from some of the patient communities I have seen on social media. A collaboration of patients and physicians could prove more effective at getting the ear of the pharmaceutical communities they address.

Although a dominant theme has been to make July national sarcoma month, there were other conversation topics.


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Use of Google Translate in medical communication: evaluation of accuracy

Use of Google Translate in medical communication: evaluation of accuracy | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it

Google Translate has only 57.7% accuracy when used for medical phrase translations and should not be trusted for important medical communications.

However, it still remains the most easily available and free initial mode of communication between a doctor and patient when language is a barrier.

Although caution is needed when life saving or legal communications are necessary, it can be a useful adjunct to human translation services when these are not available.

Read the research paper below which formed the above conclusion.

Communication is the cornerstone of medicine, without which we cannot interact with our patients. The General Medical Council’s Good Medical Practice states that “Doctors must listen to patients, take account of their views, and respond honestly to their questions. However, we still often interact with patients who do not speak the local language.

In the United Kingdom most hospitals have access to translation services, but they are expensive and often cumbersome. A complex and nuanced medical, ethical, and treatment discussion with patients whose knowledge of the local language is inadequate remains challenging. Indeed, even in a native language there is an element of translation from medical to lay terminology.

We recently treated a very sick child in our paediatric intensive care unit. The parents did not speak English, and there were no human translators available. Reluctantly we resorted to a web based translation tool. We were uncertain whether Google Translate was accurately translating our complex medical phrases. Fortunately our patient recovered, and a human translator later reassured us that we had conveyed information accurately.

We aimed to evaluate the accuracy and usefulness of Google Translate in translating common English medical statements.

Results

Ten medical phrases were evaluated in 26 languages (8 Western European, 5 Eastern European, 11 Asian, and 2 African), giving 260 translated phrases. Of the total translations, 150 (57.7%) were correct while 110 (42.3%) were wrong. African languages scored lowest (45% correct), followed by Asian languages (46%), Eastern European next with 62%, and Western European languages were most accurate at 74%. The medical phrase that was best translated across all languages was “Your husband has the opportunity to donate his organs” (88.5%), while “Your child has been fitting” was translated accurately in only 7.7% (table). Swahili scored lowest with only 10% correct, while Portuguese scored highest at 90%.

There were some serious errors. For instance, “Your child is fitting” translated in Swahili to “Your child is dead.” In Polish “Your husband has the opportunity to donate his organs” translated to “Your husband can donate his tools.” In Marathi “Your husband had a cardiac arrest” translated to “Your husband had an imprisonment of heart.” “Your wife needs to be ventilated” in Bengali translated to “Your wife wind movement needed.”

Discussion

Google Translate is an easily available free online machine translation tool for 80 languages worldwide. However, we have found limited usefulness for medical phrases used in communications between patients and doctor.

We found many translations that were completely wrong. Google Translate uses statistical matching to translate rather than a dictionary/grammar rules approach, which leaves it open to nonsensical results.


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Woman With the Metal Chest: Surgeons Implant World’s First 3D Printed Titanium Sternum

Woman With the Metal Chest: Surgeons Implant World’s First 3D Printed Titanium Sternum | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it
“ 3D printing has begun to gain a lot of traction lately within various medical fields because of its tremendous ability to create one-off custom objects. Whether”
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A Privacy Preservation Model for Health-Related Social Networking Sites

A Privacy Preservation Model for Health-Related Social Networking Sites | Mobile Health Marketing | Scoop.it
Introduction

Health-related social networking sites (SNS) are websites that enable the connection of users and facilitate the exchange of health knowledge and information. Physicians can connect with their peers and collaborate on patient cases and other medical topics to improve health care delivery and patient outcomes at sites like Doximity. Patients with life-changing illnesses can find other patients like them, discuss and track medical conditions, and give and receive support at PatientsLikeMe. Before the advent of SNS, medical providers and pharmaceutical companies spread the word to encourage participation in wellness and disease management programs. Today, websites such as Inspire and DailyStrength provide users with the opportunity to share information and stories about healthy living, thereby supporting and inspiring others. The proliferation of these sites is building a new health-information technology business prophesied on the belief that the wisdom of crowds really is smarter than any one person, no matter how well researched the individual person.

However, users reveal vast amounts of personal health information on a health-related SNS. They may also join other social networks or websites and enter personal information and other specific information covering social, professional, and health domains into other websites. There are many possible ways that users’ privacy can be compromised: data misuses, disclosures to intruders, accidental data releases, disclosures to third parties and apps, and user profiling across multiple social networks. A recent incident in which a major media monitoring firm improperly scraped personal data from PatientsLikeMe demonstrates significant privacy risks for online health information [1]. In the United States, health care providers disclose patient information without patient authorization in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, and/or state privacy laws and can be subject to fines and other penalties. In the age of Facebook and Twitter, however, many patients themselves volunteer to post their personally identifiable information (PII) and sensitive health information on multiple social networks.

While privacy concerns in social networks are well recognized by prior research [2-7], the literature on innovative privacy-preserving models and technical standards is quite limited. Based on expert opinions on the major privacy concerns, the effectiveness of possible solutions, and the requirements for developing privacy-preserving social network apps, Weiss [7] proposed a privacy threat model for data portability in social network apps. However, this work concentrated on privacy in the sense of visibility and transparence, that is, transparent and open privacy handling practices, and not so much on the privacy-preserving mechanisms that need to be developed. To address the privacy issues caused by the central SNS provider, such as data misuse and leakage risk, it has been proposed to decentralize social networking services [8-10]. However, to our best knowledge, current health-related SNS are predominantly logically centralized services and the underlying business model relies on access to the user-generated content, resulting in the impracticality of the decentralized SNS approach. There is a strong need to develop a privacy model that can protect user privacy in the complex social networking environment. This paper addresses this gap by identifying the most important threats to users and SNS providers and proposes a privacy preservation model to address the privacy challenges of health-related SNS. This paper first analyzes privacy concerns related to health-related SNS. It then develops a threat model and articulates some principal threats. Since current privacy solutions such as end-user license agreements and privacy settings are inadequate to address the threats, this paper presents a privacy preservation model that integrates both individual self-protection and privacy-by-design approaches and uses the model to develop principles and countermeasures to protect privacy.

Privacy Concerns Related to Social Networking Sites

To illustrate privacy issues with health-related SNS, we analyze the Inspire platform. Inspire may be considered an illustrative case of patient sites that offer a privacy policy and settings to address users’ privacy concerns.

Inspire is an online health and wellness support community for patients and caregivers. Inspire is provided by ClinicaHealth, Inc., and is composed of more than 190 disease-specific communities. As of December 2014, Inspire has over 400,000 registered members and 700,000 unique visitors each month.

Inspire is free for individuals and non-profit patient advocacy associations [11]. Its business model largely depends on advertising revenue and partnerships with many third-party companies [12]. Inspire helps companies and researchers find likely clinical trial participants. Clinical trial sponsors pay Inspire for this service. Inspire also offers health-focused research services to commercial companies. User-generated content has high value for the companies to conduct secondary research and issues analysis. Furthermore, Inspire makes money from selling targeted advertising.

The products and services of Inspire are essentially user profiles and user-generated content. Inspire collects and stores three types of information from users: personal profile, user-generated content, and Web behavior information. At its registration page, Inspire asks a new user to provide certain personal information, including a functioning email address, postal code, gender, date of birth, user ID, and password. A user is also given an option to provide additional personal information to create an extended online profile [13]. User-generated content is all the information a user posts on the site or communicates with other users, including disease conditions, treatments, family history, and possibly personal information generated by the user. Web behavior information is information on how a user uses different features of the site collected through cookies. Inspire may combine this information with the profile [13].

Inspire strives to create a secure environment where users connect with each other around shared conditions and share relevant information about their health and the health of their loved ones. When people’s personal information is involved, however, there are several privacy concerns. First, Inspire may reveal personal information to other users and outsiders. When a user registers at the site, the profile becomes visible to other users of the site and the profile may also be found by visitors of the site using Inspire’s search functions. Although users can use the privacy settings to control access to their profiles, they may not have the knowledge and technical skills to understand the settings and change their own settings appropriately.

Second, Inspire has the right to use personal information for various purposes without user control. For example, it may use personal information to present targeted content, including advertising or requests either from ClinicaHealth or from a third party. Users have no control over the collection and use of personal information by Inspire and its affiliates. Inspire makes clear under its privacy policy: “ClinicaHealth may share your email address and profile information with the organizations that sponsor Inspire groups that you join” [13].

Third, although Inspire does not disclose a user’s PII to third parties without consent, it may share health information with third parties on an aggregate or other basis that does not disclose user identity or contain PII [13]. However, concerns have been raised about the sufficiency of popular de-identification methodologies such as merely stripping names and addresses; data mining tools make it possible to reverse-engineer PII from weakly de-identified user information [1]. Furthermore, user-generated content, which may contain PII accidentally revealed by users, is open to the community, outsiders, and third parties.

Fourth, Inspire is an open community. Anyone with a valid email address can sign up for Inspire and then view the content on the site. This raises the problem of unauthorized access by unintended users. Inspire is also vulnerable to attacks from malicious intruders, such as data scraping and social engineering attacks.


‎Table 1. Examples of health-related social networks and general social networks.View this table


These concerns are also intrinsic to other health-related SNS and general social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The purpose and privacy characteristics of top patient sites and general social networks are summarized in Table 1 [14-19]. Furthermore, the security characteristics of these sites are vague. Without effective privacy controls, health-related SNS may disclose the information not only to their business partners but also to unintended individuals and entities. The concern is not just about data mining and marketing that could influence patients to seek drugs they do not need or to spend more money on branded drugs rather than generics. More broadly, employers, health insurers, and/or identity thieves could gain access to users’ profiles, leading to negative consequences, including privacy compromise, social embarrassment, discriminations from employers and insurance companies, identity theft, and so forth [5,20]. Because health-related SNS are not HIPAA-covered entities, these concerns are very real and must be addressed seriously. When users lose their trust and confidence in the ability of a health-related SNS to protect privacy, that company’s reputation will be irreparably damaged.

A Threat Model

For users, a health-related SNS consists of a set of users, a set of mechanisms for exchanging information, a set of binary relations between users, a set of search functions, and a site operator.

The SNS provider and its affiliates may use health information for many purposes. It may also release health information to various third parties and apps or enable exchange of information with other social networks. We may include these additional actors into a usage and sharing network that involves the SNS provider and its affiliates, a set of third parties that collect data from the site, a set of apps that users may invoke within the site, a set of other SNS or websites, and government agencies, including law enforcement and public health. An information flow diagram for a health-related SNS is shown in Figure 1.

In the social network, a user creates a personal profile, content, and connection network on a health-related SNS. The user may also join other social networks in order to enjoy different social networking services and enter personal health information into other SNS or websites. The site and other websites permanently store the information into their own databases. The site operator uses the information to control the site. The site may make the information visible to other users or even to unintended outsiders including visitors, fake accounts, and attackers. Outsiders may also draw information from other websites.

In the usage and sharing network, the SNS provider and its affiliates may use the accumulated health information for commercial purposes. They may disclose the information to third parties (eg, researchers, marketers, insurers, employers) that may also collect information from other social networks that users have joined and show some information collected from the current site on other websites. The SNS provider may also permit users to launch various apps that draw information from user profiles in order to create targeted materials. Furthermore, the SNS provider and other SNS providers may share their databases and link different user accounts across multiple SNS due to the collection of more personal health data. Finally, the SNS provider may release the information to government entities for law enforcement or social uses.


‎Figure 1. A health-related social networking site.View this figure


Privacy ThreatsOverview

The process of identifying threats to users should recognize users’ interest in protecting personal information from parties with which they do not consent or intend to share it. Users are also concerned that personal data may be used in the wrong way or for the wrong purpose. Thus, we look at four key elements in defining a privacy threat—the actors who disclose information, the actors who receive information, the types of information involved, and the purpose. We outline the principal threats of SNS below.

Excessive Revelation of Personal Health Information

Many users have provided unprecedented amounts of detail about their lives, including PII and sensitive health information. Some people hope that exchange of health information will help them access health advice, receive and give social support, manage their conditions, or improve their overall health and quality of life [21,22]. However, health-related SNS may make the information easily accessible to unwanted audiences. Some people may reveal their personal information for the sake of the greater good. Yet they typically have no way of knowing whether their profiles contribute directly to the development of more effective treatments or simply become a lucrative asset for sale. The shared information may contain personal information such as real name and photos, together with their medical conditions. Once personal health information is compromised and the resultant harm is done to that person, it cannot be withdrawn and made private again [20]. Furthermore, users post not just great amounts of private information about themselves but information about other people such as their family members and friends. Although some medical research programs need health information about patients’ relatives, disclosing medical information about other people is considered a privacy violation. Individuals sharing information on health trends can, if their submissions are aggregated, reveal information about the health issues affecting their local communities or ethnic groups [4].

Access and Use by Other Users and Visitors

Personal health information may become visible to other users, and visitors may also find the information via the website’s search features or even Google searches. This raises the problem of inappropriate access and use by other users and visitors. Even if users can control the access to their own profiles, they may not control what other users and visitors reveal about personal information posted in a public area. For example, other users could be untrustworthy and steal an individual’s health information and use it for their own purposes. They may disclose the information to the person’s employer or insurer or post it on the Internet.

Secondary Uses and Disclosures by the Social Networking Site Provider and its Affiliates

After users share their personal health information with a health-related SNS, they may lose control over the distribution of their information. The SNS provider has unlimited access to all the information. Ultimately the SNS provider expects that the information will generate insights with considerate scientific as well as economic value. Users are extremely vulnerable because they have little control over the collection, use, and disposition of their information. Privacy can be compromised in many possible ways: targeted advertising, secondary use of the information for research, direct misuse, creation of a permanent record of personal profiles, accidental information release by a site operator, etc.

User Profiling Across Multiple Social Networking Sites

Many users join multiple social networks for different purposes. This means a user may hold multiple profiles, which are stored and shared in different SNS [23-25]. For example, a user creates an account on Facebook mainly to communicate with friends and families, as well as to share pictures and videos with them. In the meantime, she provides her professional profile and establishes her professional networking on LinkedIn. Furthermore, she stores her personal health records and shares her treatment and symptom on a health-related SNS.

Third parties and companies may use different user accounts and their social relations to connect multiple social networks and produce aggregated user profiles [24,25]. These aggregated user profiles would be immensely valuable to companies looking to market products or services or, in the case of employers, screen potential job applicants. Furthermore, companies can integrate multiple social networks and conduct social network analysis and mining tasks on the integrated social networks [26]. Individual published social network data capture only a partial picture of a user’s complete social network. Integration of multiple online and real social networks provides a more complete picture of a user’s social network.

Unfortunately, such user profiling and social network integration is not necessarily always beneficial. For example, malicious third parties and identity thieves may use their own crawler systems to obtain a user’s private information and friend lists. More seriously, such third parties and individuals could create fake accounts pretending to be this person and then solicit others to connect [25]. These fake accounts can be abused to deliberately leak the user’s private information and friend lists to malicious intruders, which could quickly turn into identity theft and fraud, losing a job, hurting relationships, or even worse.

Secondary Uses and Disclosures by Third Parties

The SNS provider may disclose personal health information to third parties and apps. Users cannot assess the risks of divulging personal information unless they know the set of organizations to which their information may be disclosed, and the uses to which it may be put [27]. Because health information is of high commercial value, the accessibility and manipulability of the information creates economic pressures for its use and disclosure for a widening range of commercial and industrial uses. The SNS provider may also allow third-party websites and apps to automatically have access to users’ personal information. Data portability technologies may allow many websites and apps to be linked together, letting them share both dynamic content and the nature of the relationships of their users [3,4]. For example, an SNS may communicate with advertising servers, which produce targeted advertising based on details contained in user profiles. The ability to draw data from multiple websites and apps may allow third parties to create a comprehensive digital profile of private data, accumulating more than what a user would have predicted [2,28].

Inability to Detect Sources of Privacy Violations

A health-related SNS cannot assure users’ privacy if it lacks automated tracing mechanisms to monitor and track uses and potential misuses of personal information. Visibility and transparency has not been a strong point of health-related SNS. Information mash-ups and the combination of apps and multiple different types of SNS [24] create unexpected information flow through “back channels”, impeding users’ ability to get a clear view of the way their data are propagating [5]. Different actors (eg, users and apps), linkages, and roles are having dynamic interactions with each other through different ways across multiple social networks or websites. Thus, it is hard for a user to identify the core elements (eg, bridge, hub, broker, power user, proxy) responsible for information dissemination among multiple SNS and find their implicit and explicit relationships with other SNS [24]. Users are often incapable of defending their privacy just because they do not know that their privacy is even endangered. Privacy policies, especially relating to third parties, apps, and social network data sharing and integration, are often vague, uninformative, and seldom reflect users’ expectations [2,28,29].

Outsider Attacks

A health-related SNS is vulnerable to attacks from malicious outsiders, such as data scraping and social engineering attacks. Data scraping is a technique that trolls online communities, discussion boards, blogs, and chat rooms looking for personal information that can be used for fraud or any other purposes. For example, data scrapers may choose to work surreptitiously through hidden programs, or they may sign up with a fake email address in order to obtain personal information from unsuspecting users. A patient site also creates a perfect social and ecological environment for spear phishing, viruses, worms, spyware, spoofing, and Web app attacks, facilitated by human vulnerability and easily accessible user profiles [28]. Furthermore, a health-related SNS is vulnerable to social engineering techniques that exploit low entry thresholds to trustful health communities [3].

A Privacy Preservation ModelOverview

Health-related SNS have unique needs to address the principal threats to users and SNS providers not only because personal health information is highly sensitive but also because privacy is essential for building trust, which is the foundational currency of health communications. Today, the dominant approach is a combination of end-user license agreements and privacy settings. Privacy by license agreements is problematic because users have to accept these agreements prior to using SNS services even if they are concerned about privacy. Empirical and theoretical research suggests that users often lack enough information to make privacy-sensitive decisions and, even with sufficient information, are likely to trade off privacy for health benefits [30]. Moreover, the terms of these agreements seldom reflect users’ expectations because they can be created and changed only by SNS providers, not by users [29,31].

Current privacy settings provided by most health-related SNS suffer a number of drawbacks. First, since most SNS make “public” their default settings, users may forget to change the default settings. Second, individual self-control is constrained by the user’s awareness and education and by the technical design of an SNS, which may impede easy and effective management of settings regarding the access, use, and disclosure of personal information [2]. Furthermore, privacy settings give users control over who sees what on each profile, but they give users little control over what the SNS provider and its affiliates reveal about them. Therefore, asking individuals to assume full responsibility for policing the use of their profiles by other users and visitors is no longer reasonable, nor does it offer sufficient checks against direct misuse and improper disclosure of personal information by the SNS provider and its affiliates.


‎Table 2. Privacy threats and countermeasures.View this table


Instead, a privacy model based on a shared responsibility between the SNS provider and users may be better suited as a means of effective protection for both the SNS and its users. User profiles, user-generated content, and social links are the most valuable asset for the SNS provider, and it should be in the best interests of the SNS provider to find solutions to protect those assets through effective means. Therefore, this paper assumes that both the SNS provider and users share the same values concerning protection of user privacy. Direct misuse and improper disclosure of personal information in the usage and sharing network (Figure 1) can lead to conflicting interests for users and the SNS provider. The conflicting interests can be resolved by other means (eg, regulations [2], decentralized social network services, and cryptographic solutions [8-10]) that fall beyond the scope of this paper. The threat analysis outlined above indicates that privacy protection should be considered on four fronts: user self-control, privacy-preserving mechanisms, privacy audits, and security mechanisms. Building on early research [2-7,26,31-33] and the concept of privacy by design [34], this paper proposes a privacy preservation model that incorporates both individual self-protection and privacy-by-design principles. Below we identify key privacy principles and countermeasures to address the principal threats of health-related SNS (Table 2).

Safe, Flexible, and User-Friendly Privacy Settings

Privacy settings play a vital role in matching users’ privacy expectations. Many health-related SNS give options to hide certain types of personal information from other users and visitors through the customization of privacy settings. The SNS provider expects users to choose their privacy settings meticulously using available privacy options. But users’ self-protection behaviors are constrained by their privacy awareness and by the technical design of privacy settings. Safe, flexible, and user-friendly privacy settings allow the user to set privacy preferences easily and effectively. First, a health-related SNS should turn on privacy settings that limit the collection, display, or sharing of PII by default [3]. For example, the SNS would not make any PII publicly viewable until the user takes affirmative steps to allow this. Second, the SNS can provide flexible privacy settings that afford users fine-grained control over each and every piece of personal information so that other users and visitors cannot access it without explicit consent. Privacy could be compromised by the user’s inability to control impressions and manage complex social contexts [7]. It needs to be a major responsibility of the SNS provider to raise the awareness of users and to make its privacy settings very user-friendly. If the SNS enables exchange of information with other SNS or websites, a global model is needed to deal with issues of integration of privacy and security settings across multiple SNS. Third, health-related SNS may provide a means by which users can visualize their current exposure within the community and across multiple social networks. In practice, users have little sense of how their information is accessed and used by other users, visitors, apps, third parties, and other SNS. Graphical displays of the social relations and user accounts linkage across multiple social networks [24,26] would help the user appreciate the potential risks arising from a disclosure and customize their individual settings accordingly.

Privacy by Design

Privacy by design refers to the philosophy and approach of building privacy into the design and architecture of technologies, business practices, and the underlying technical platforms [34]. The presence of protection for users’ privacy, including data anonymization and purpose limitation, is crucial to gaining the necessary public trust to make the SNS successful. The following privacy-preserving mechanisms have to be taken into account. First of all, the SNS provider may design architectures that apply appropriate privacy-preserving transformations before transferring the information to individuals and entities. There are several transformation techniques. The safe harbor de-identification method attempts to suppress individual identifiers in order to de-identify the data. Health-related SNS might voluntarily comply with the HIPAA privacy rule by deleting 18 common identifiers before disclosure [35,36]. Under the HIPAA privacy rule, data are considered de-identified if the covered entity removed the following identifiers from the data: names, addresses, dates, telephone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses, social security numbers, medical record numbers, health plan beneficiary numbers, account numbers, certificate/license numbers, vehicle identifiers and serial numbers (including license plate numbers), device identifiers and serial numbers, Web Universal Resource Locators (URL), Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, biometric identifiers (including finger and voice prints), full-face photographic images and any comparable images, and any other unique identifying number, characteristic, or code.

An alternative approach, known as statistical anonymization techniques [37-39], desensitizes the data by suppressing quasi-identifiers (eg, postal code, birth date, gender, hometown, and/or other demographics), decreasing precision/accuracy, and/or adding confusion to the information in order to make it more difficult to link de-identified data back to the individual. Properly applied statistical anonymization is an effective tool for protecting privacy and preserving the ability to leverage user-generated content for secondary purposes. Furthermore, health-related SNS may use network data anonymization techniques to reduce the identity inference risks from social network data such as social graph, tagging data, email, or instant messaging. The techniques attempt to suppress the user’s network structure by graph modification approaches and clustering-based approaches [33]. However, the techniques only allow us to investigate the structural properties of a single anonymized social network. In many cases, node identifiers are essential to link data from different social networks. In order to share useful information among different social networks while protecting privacy, Tang and Yang [26] proposed a generalization and probabilistic approach by generalizing social networks to preserve privacy and integrating the probabilistic models for the generalized social network data for social network analysis and mining.

Over the past few years, however, researchers have found that even de-identified data could be re-identified and attributed to specific individuals [40,41]. Third parties and companies are actively seeking end-user information by linking a variety of different data sources and different user accounts across multiple social networks. The more datasets to which third parties and companies have access, the easier such re-identification becomes. Therefore, the SNS provider and third parties should make a public commitment not to re-identify the data for commercial uses without explicit consent and it should contractually prohibit downstream recipients from doing the same. The SNS may also provide privacy-preserving interfaces for third-party apps while still enabling them to deliver customizable content. Current best practices include “privacy by proxy” mechanisms [32].

Second, the SNS provider may limit the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information to the purposes identified in the privacy notice. Personal information shall not be used or disclosed for purposes other than those identified in the privacy notice, except with consent or where required by law. It is a challenge to find a balance between privacy and utility in data sharing and integration across multiple social networks and websites. On one hand, users’ personal information is the most valuable asset for SNS providers and it should also be in their best interest to protect the asset. SNS providers, on the other hand, need to proof their business model by further expanding ways to exploit the value of their users’ personal information. Stringent penalties for misuse and improper disclosure of personal information should be established through federal regulations or contractual mechanisms.

Third, a health-related SNS may provide convenient tools to allow users to destroy their profiles and posts completely, in a timely fashion. These tools should allow users to remove their personal information safely and delete or edit their posts in a user-friendly way.

Privacy Audits

Privacy audits provide a means of independently verifying that a health-related SNS operates according to its privacy policies. Auditing and monitoring services are not included in the privacy policies of current health-related SNS. A health-related SNS cannot assure users of their privacy and security unless it enables users to request an “audit trail”, detailing when their personal information was accessed, by whom, and for what purpose. A second alternative is to actually audit access and actively notify users in the case of inappropriate access. This principle seeks to assure users that a health-related SNS is operating according to its privacy policies, subject to independent verification. Its component parts and operations are visible and transparent to users. Options for the user to report privacy invasions establish transparency and additional trust in its commitment to adequate treatment of personal information. Furthermore, malicious intruders may use their own crawler systems to obtain a user’s private information and friend lists and infer the user account’s linkage across multiple SNS and websites. It is highly desirable to design a methodology for auditing usage and data sharing and detecting unauthorized access to each user’s personal information across multiple social networks.

Security for Privacy

Health-related SNS may provide appropriate security safeguards that improve privacy. Intruders are increasingly using complicated techniques via the Internet to steal personal information. Traditional security solutions like firewalls and encryption are no longer the centerpiece against social network attacks. Encryption technology for the transmission and storage of personal information provides enhanced security. But data thieves may steal personal information via fake accounts or launch automated crawling and identity theft attacks across different SNS and obtain a large amount of user private information. Some health-related SNS do not use a validation process during new user’s registration. Weak authentication of registrants through a functional email address, the preferred validation requirement, is not an adequate method and leads to a proliferation of fake accounts populating the network. Therefore, health-related SNS may develop strong multifactor authentication that combines two or more independent categories of credentials: what the user knows (password), what the user has (security token), and what the user is (a biometric characteristic such as a fingerprint). Health-related SNS may also invest in things like continuous monitoring and security analytics solutions that monitor the network 24/7 [42], reporting suspicious activities or vulnerability. Social engineering and phishing attacks are the most important threats to users. Sadly, there is no computer program that can protect the network from social engineering or phishing attacks. The best protection is security education and awareness. Health-related SNS could develop proactive communication techniques that raise the level of education and awareness about dangers of privacy and security breaches. Procedures and policies could also be in place for reporting misuse and illegal activity.

The above-mentioned principles and techniques form the basis of how to address the threats of health-related SNS and other eHealth technologies. In principle, many of the techniques and industry best practices needed to implement and enforce these principles are available, if not deployed on existing health-related SNS. We do not have space to detail all the protections for user privacy in this paper, but only to provide a concise set of countermeasures and to relate the countermeasures to the identified privacy threats (Table 2). Since de-identification and informed consent are key elements of privacy laws, these principles and countermeasures can give a health-related SNS legal cover in case of a privacy breach.

Conclusions

A health-related SNS benefits from the increasing amount of personal health information willingly shared on its site, but users are likely to be exposed to privacy and security threats. In this paper, we have developed a threat model that highlights the underlying usage and sharing network behind the SNS and shows the principal threats to users. Because the established solutions like license agreements and unsafe privacy settings are inadequate to mitigate the threats, we proposed a conceptual privacy framework that integrates such foundational principles as safe and flexible setting, privacy by design, privacy audits, and security for privacy. The principles and their associated countermeasures provide a practical way to protect privacy against unauthorized individuals or entities. This proposed model can be generalized to other online settings where personal information is available.

Because personal health information is extremely valuable to both the SNS provider and its business partners, there are always economic pressures on the SNS provider to exploit the value of the database it holds—a prospect that becomes even more tempting if the current business model that supports full user control does not generate sufficient revenue. Hence, there is a tension here, because without effective protections, many users would refrain from sharing health information online due to privacy concerns [43], causing the community to fade away. But if the SNS allows users to keep too much of their information private, there will be less content for creating commercial and social value inside or outside the SNS. Consequently, its business will suffer. The main challenge in the future will be to develop privacy-preserving SNS that protect user privacy while still tapping the richness of user-generated content. All involved parties, and at the foremost the SNS developers, need to understand the potential threats that exist and therefore build privacy and security protections into health-related social networks.


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