Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Tracking Staff Through Wearables
A June 1 article in Forbes rather breathlessly claims that employers will soon be embracing, and even mandating, the use of wearable devices as a means of improving employee health and restraining health care costs. The article cites a report from a Colorado-based research firm that the market for corporate and industrial users of wearables will skyrocket over the next five years, from 1% of sales now to 17% by 2020. While there is little doubt that the market for, and potential health value of, wearables is huge, two key questions will have to be addressed along the way: whether any employer can mandate use of a wearable, and whether data from the devices will be available to the employer in a personally-identifiable manner. The Forbes reporter intimates an affirmative answer to both questions is in the offing, but HIPAA within the U.S. and privacy laws abroad are unlikely to allow this. At the same time, with appropriate planning and privacy safeguards in place, both employers and employees should be able to reap the potential benefits of wearables.