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​Guidelines for Personalised Health Technologies Released

Press release   •   Mar 01, 2016 14:38 CAT

Guidelines for Personalised Health Technologies Released

Framework addresses ethical, legal and social challenges for data generated by wearables, smartwatches and mobile health apps.

HIMSS16 ANNUAL CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION, LAS VEGAS – March 1, 2016 – With the increasing use of wearables, smartwatches, mobile health applications, and other personalised health technologies by consumers, the massive amounts of data being generated require more transparency on corporate data management and stewardship. To build on existing best practices and create a standardised approach, Vitality released finalised guidelines for personalised health technologies with leading partners.

“Personalised health technologies and data from these innovations demonstrate tremendous potential to improve the health of consumers, though they must be used in ways that address ethical, legal, and social considerations,” said Derek Yach, MBChB, MPH, chief health officer, Vitality. “These global guidelines have been developed after months of public comment and are a step beyond regulations to create greater transparency and to safeguard the trust of users of personalised health technologies.”

In June 2014, Vitality Institute Commissioners recommended the creation of a framework that addressed ethical, legal and social issues with respect to the use of data collected by personalised health technologies. From July to October 2015, Vitality and colleagues called for and hosted a 90-day global public consultation on draft guidelines to identify best practices for the responsible innovation of personalised health technologies and the appropriate stewardship of data from these devices. The finalised recommendations released at HIMSS16 include:

1. Build health technologies informed by science

2. Scale affordable health technologies

3. Guide interpretation of health data

4. Protect and secure health data

5. Govern the responsible use of health technology and data

“The guidelines promise to be an enormous step forward in using personal technologies to promote health,” said Kevin Patrick, MD, MS, professor at the University of California, San Diego, a director at the Qualcomm Institute and one of the authors of the guidelines. “It is essential that consumer protections are in place and followed to ensure that consumers are confident in how corporations handle their personal health data.”

Working group to implement guidelines

Vitality is collaborating with organizations to explore how best to pilot, implement, and report on the guidelines for personalized health technology. These will ultimately be measured independently using tangible metrics, and results may be shared publicly. Collaborating across the public and private sectors, the working group will seek to shift the dialogue around personalized health technologies to promote transparency and trust for all stakeholders.

The guidelines can be accessed at:


Note to editors:

  • Released at HIMSS16

The guidelines are being released at HIMSS16 (Wed., Mar. 2, 2016 at 7:30 a.m. Pacific, The Venetian Las Vegas, San Polo Room 3405). A Vitality representative and co-author of the Guidelines will be available for interviews.

Vitality will be exhibiting at HIMSS16 in Booth #15205.

  • About Vitality

The Vitality Group is a member of Discovery Ltd., a global financial services organization offering an incentive-based health and well-being program to employers as part of their benefits program. With a foundation based on actuarial science and behavioral economic theory, Vitality encourages changes in lifestyle that reduce health care costs, both in the short run and long term, by rewarding members for addressing their specific health issues. Vitality well-being programs serve companies in a wide range of sizes and industries, improving individuals’ health and wellbeing as well as employers’ bottom lines.

For more information, visit

The Vitality Institute is an evidence-driven, action-oriented research organization dedicated to building a culture of well-being by promoting health and preventing chronic diseases. The Institute aims to unite leaders in the public and private sectors to transform evidence into action and build a culture of health. The Institute was founded in 2013 by the South African insurer, Discovery Ltd., as part of its commitment to health promotion and well-being programs that advance social good.

For more information, visit Follow the Institute on Twitter at or on Facebook at

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About Discovery Limited

Discovery Limited is a South African-founded financial services organisation that operates in the healthcare, life assurance, short-term insurance, savings and investment products and wellness markets. Founded in 1992, Discovery was guided by a clear core purpose – to make people healthier and to enhance and protect their lives. Underpinning this core purpose is the belief that through innovation, Discovery can be a powerful market disruptor.

The company, with headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, has expanded its operations globally and currently serves over 4.4 million clients across South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Singapore and Australia. Discovery recently announced an intent to partner with Generali, a leading insurer in Europe, and has partnered John Hancock in the US. These new partnerships will bring Discovery’s shared-value business model to protection industries in Europe and the US.

Vitality, Discovery’s wellness programme, is the world’s largest scientific, incentive-based wellness solution for individuals and corporates. The global Vitality membership base now exceeds three million lives in five markets.

Discovery is an authorised financial services provider and trades under the code “DSY” on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange. 

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