mHealth, Trust and the Security of Personal Data
The decentralisation of healthcare now extends, through the use of mobile technologies, beyond the home to people (patients) themselves. This heralds a revolution in the way people think about and use health and wellbeing services. This chapter explores the position in this changing landscape of mHealth, with particular reference to the use of apps. It gives specific attention to matters of trust, regulation and the security of personal data. These issues are highlighted as of especial importance considering the vulnerability of a high proportion of users of mHealth services. Noted is both the rapid growth in the number of health apps publically available and the varied attention given by their creators to safeguarding personal data that may be stored or shared through their use. Trust, in relation to such matters, is suggested as being potentially increased through the use of standards that would address quality concerns. Nevertheless, there remains a responsibility for health professionals to understand and respond to the changes that are taking place – albeit in the context that they do not have ‘mastery’ over the mHealth technologies concerned. Finally, a framework is called for within which essential safeguards must be established in relation to trust in mHealth services and the security of personal data.