Published: 21 March 2019

In response to the publication of the article on ‘Data sharing by popular health apps’ in the BMJ, Aisling Burnand MBE, Chief Executive of the AMRC, said:

“Patients need and want new tools to help them manage their conditions and live freer, more independent lives. But the public and patients expect that their health and care data to be handled sensitively, responsibly and securely.

“This research shows that health app developers must be much more transparent in how they are using data. We encourage a “no surprises” approach to how health data is used, as put forward by the National Data Guardian for health and social care.  No-one using a health app should be surprised by how their health and care data is used, and they should be offered the choice about how their data is used and shared. We also want to see more transparency around how and why digital health solutions generate the outcomes they do, this is particularly relevant to AI.

“If health apps and other technologies fail to be transparent, the risk is that people will become less engaged in them and may miss out on the benefits they offer.”