back to article Australian Government funds effort to secure wearable data pulses

Wearable health devices could feed Australians' health data into official databases to improve diagnosis under security research funded by the Federal Government. The researchers want to find ways to secure wearable consumer devices and validate the identity of users in order to enable health practitioners to trust data feeds …

  1. Khaptain

    Solution to a non problem

    Here is the real problem

    "Health care costs are ballooning in much of the western world".

    Is the solution justified by wearing a "tracking" bracelet, I do not think so..

    Why not simplify the health care, reduce the paperwork, build more streamlined hospitals, stop selling fat sugary drinks, etc etc etc Attack the problem at it's base rather than pretend to provide "big data" solutions to problems that can be tackled in so many other ways.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Solution to a non problem

      "Tracking bracelet"

      For these things to be useful, especially when worn by children or the mentally infirm, they'll need to be difficult to remove. I think therefore that you didn't need to put the quotes around Tracking bracelet, because that's surely what they would be if implemented.

      Scary world, I'm beginning to think.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Solution to a non problem

      Interesting solution to healthcare costs: Make 'em publish how much a service/procedure costs and let capitalism take its course. At least on this side of the pond, it's absolutely completely fucking impossible to find out, even after you've had it done.

      One state did that (Massachusetts?) and it turned out one hospital charged $X for an appendectomy, and another charged $3X. Of course there was A) the outrage at the differential, and B) the inevitable flow of everyone to the first hospital, resulting in the other hospitals lowering prices to match.

      It doesn't completely solve all the problems, but it's a pretty good start.

      The real shock was all the insurance companies going WTF? implying even they didn't know the actual costs either.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Money quote

    "It could also be a boon for health insurers, which could adjust premiums based on regular customer health data feeds."

    Soon, a refusal to don the wearable will cause havoc to your insurance bill, or in cases where a government insures you, a visit from friendly but firm 'wearable enforcers.'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Money quote

      Good point, and I suspect the same is going to happen with the OBD port on your car too. Already here in the states one insurance company will set your rates based on a month of driving with one of their devices plugged into the OBD port. You can easily see where this become mandatory, or you're automatically "high risk".

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Robert Helpmann??

      Re: What could possibly go wrong?

      It could also be a boon for health insurers, which could adjust premiums based on regular customer health data feeds.

      Which would allow insurers to charge people with issues or risky behavior based on the data collected without a corresponding lowering of rates for the rest of the customer pool, negating the benefit of insurance (spreading risk). Predictable!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    STAGE 1: Bracelet

    Stage 2: Nano implants into Heart

    Stage 3: Regular 'Remote Culls' of difficult or unnecessary citizens

  5. Identity

    Only semi-relevant...

    The Canadian sci-fi show Continuum posited a health bracelet called Halo that not only monitored health but could be programmed to deliver pharmaceuticals at need. The corrupt chief cop loved the idea (he was on the board of the manufacturing company) because you could quell disturbances with the push of a button. POOF! Miscreants tranquilized!

  6. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    So...anyone with a genetic predisposition towards any of a number of different diseases will pay more to live? Anyone who is poorer (and thus can only afford bulk processed foods that aren't good for us) will pay more to live? Anyone who has had an accident (I can give you a list of people who have had spectacularly costly - read: millions of dollars and counting - worth of medical issues due to being hit by a drunk driver) will pay more to live?

    You can't control your genetics. Poverty is a vicious circle that very, very few escape from. Lots of things can happen to you where you have absolutely zero control or ability to prevent them.

    And we're going to place people at a disadvantage because of this people for this? There is a thin line here between medical insurance tracking bracelets and eugenics. It's maybe a slower process to use the bracelets, but the end result is the same: pushing those who are "impure" into a position of significant disadvantage such that they will eventually just die off.

  7. Andrew Meredith

    Insurance => Payment Club

    Once the medical insurers have our wearables, our DNA and all the other bits of info they are slavering over at the moment, their product will entirely cease to be insurance. It will have far more in common with the supermarket savings clubs, where you pay an amount each week into their scheme, then come Christmas, you get it back.

    If they have calculated the actual cost of the patient accurately, then the insured is probably better off putting the amount they are paying in insurance into a high interest account. The insurance company calculated the amount they would need to pay out for this patient, then they added their costs and thair profit to the top. If the formerly insured saves this money, they won't need to fund the company or its shareholders, plus they'll get interest on the capital. If the insurance company have done their sums right, the insured gets a better deal by ignoring medical insurance completely.

    The insurance companies should simply not be allowed to do this. Their business is risk, but they want to turn it into a simple savings scheme. Nobody benefits.

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