Researcher: Security, privacy low on priority list for mHealth innovators

Security and privacy are often low on device makers' list of priorities, according to a Dartmouth professor, who is using his research background to change that. 

David Kotz, a champion international professor in Dartmouth's computer science department, received a grant from the National Science Foundation in 2013 for his first mHealth research project, called Amulet, which includes--a "bracelet" that will run software for health monitoring and management tasks, as well as communicate with sensing devices.

"Our focus is on the security and privacy aspect, so how do you make it possible for multiple applications to run on a single platform like that without interfering with each other, without being hampered by some wireless attacker or exposing personal information to wireless eavesdroppers," Kotz said in a recent interview with Healthcare IT News.

That main focus on security stems from Kotz's observations of how others approach mobile health security, he said in the interview.

"They're more focused on function or cost or time to market, and making sure that the data is secure and the applications function--whatever that might be--is secure, the network communications are secure, that's really our focus," he said.

Currently, Amulet remains at the project stage, Kotz said. There is a patent filed for some of the technology, but it is still a research project, he said.

However, his team hopes to, at some point, release the hardware and software in an open way for researchers to play with, he added. 

A PwC report recently showed that 20 percent of American adults own a wearable, and one in 10 uses it every day. Yet device fatigue is also becoming a trend; PwC noted in its report that 33 percent of users who bought a mHealth wearable over a year ago are no longer using the device.

For more information:
- read the Healthcare IT News article

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