Insuring healthcare in a digital world


  • Dr Elizabeth McFall

    Open University

Project summary

Huge claims are being made about the impact of digital technologies on healthcare provision. As digital health, Big Data and the Internet of Things converge with insurance systems healthcare is to become more democratic and more personalised, individual health data will be captured on devices and shared directly with public and private health providers and insurers, and competition to find ways of measuring, valuing and monetising data will intensify. A systematic assessment of these claims is urgently required.

This project will explore the practices and ethics of digital recording and economic valuation of individual health data. Private insurance schemes already reward healthier behaviour. The NHS has embraced the use of apps to change behaviour, and is running pilot schemes to integrate data from wearable devices into Patient Health Records. But who decides what constitutes healthier behaviour, and by which digital health measures? Can citizen-consumer-patients opt out or have oversight of all the uses to which their data might be put? Should individuals be held financially responsible for their own health? This study will focus initially on the extent of digital-financial health convergence in the UK using digital research methods and in-depth interviews with emerging key actors in the sector.