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The new wave of privacy concerns in the wearable devices era

The pervasiveness of mobile devices such as smart phones, apps, remote monitoring devices, and wearable sensors is enabling growth of Patient Generated Health Data (PGHD) through which people are capturing their vital signs outside the clinical settings. Tracking fitness, helping with personal health issues, tracking diet and nutrition, tracking sleeping conditions, along with managing stress and mental health are touted as potential benefits of using wearable device services. However, following the trend of growth in electronic data breaches over the last few years, information privacy intrusion has become a major potential threat associated with collecting, tracking, storing, and sharing personal information. Drawing upon literature concerning privacy conceptualization, operationalization, and perception, we aim to explain the antecedents and outcomes of privacy concerns in the context of wearables to gain more insight about users’ decisions on disclosing their personal health information. We may be on the crux of a golden age for personalized collaborative care through PGHD, yet we need to consider if we are doing so by trading-off privacy.

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