Most UK consumers would share data from wearable devices with GP, survey suggests


A KPMG survey has shown that whilst most UK consumers are happy to use wearable devices to report health data back to their GP, many are cautious about that data being shared with other ‘entities’.


‘74% of UK adults happy to share data from wearable devices with GP’

Out of 1,000 UK adults, 74 per cent said they would be happy to wear a device that monitors their health and reports it back to their GP. Despite this, just 7 per cent would be happy for the same information to be shared with their employer.

In the survey, three out of five said they would not want their health data – from an internet-connected fridge, smartwatch or mobile phone – to be shared or stored.

Caroline Rivett, director in KPMG’s cyber security practise, said: “The survey highlights that although UK consumers are happy to use wearable devices to report their health statuses back to their GP, they are less than comfortable for the data to be shared and stored with other entities, including healthcare providers.

According to Rivett, this research shows that consumers have become “tired” of the “intrusiveness of some of these tactics coming from businesses they don’t trust”.

“People do not want to feel like they are being ‘tracked’ for marketing purposes,” she said, adding that companies should think about how they talk to their customers to avoid becoming “alienated”.


UK adults and the NHS

The survey also revealed that 48 per cent would allow the NHS to add their medical records to a single national database so that it can be accessed by any medical practitioner across the country.

Furthermore, an ‘altruistic’ 46 per cent said they would be happy for their medical records to be shared anonymously to help medical research.


Protection against cyber attacks

Rivett pointed out that, whilst accessing medical data via a single source has its advantages, it can also create issues surrounding cyber security. In order to ensure the data of citizens is protected, the NHS needs to be equipped with the right skills.

She said: “With people on the move all the time, accessing medical data through a single source can be great in the event of an emergency to make sure correct and prompt treatments are administered.  

“But moving to a single source online brings its own issues. We need to make sure that the data of citizens is protected against increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. For this work, the NHS needs to draw on skills from across government and the private sector, but also be willing to educate and engage the public to build understanding and support.” 

Related reading