Attention to privacy improves digital health

28 November 2017 • 1 min reading time

More and more people are using ‘wearables’ to monitor their health. These devices produce a great deal of personal and sensitive data that can be used to improve health care. But what about privacy? Many organizations are struggling to strike the right balance. RESPECT4U can help them.

Digital health interventions, or ‘digital health’, can clearly contribute to effective and sustainable health care. For instance, personal health data on daily activities, heart rate, blood test levels and sleep patterns can all play a vital role. Health care clients, care professionals, policy-makers and researchers can all benefit from access to this data and to the insights generated by health care applications.

“The right to privacy and to the protection of personal information can actually stimulate innovation”

From negative hindrance to positive driver

The collection, storage and processing of personal health data can have an impact on privacy. In practice, current privacy protection laws are often regarded as an obstacle to the realization of improved care. In other words, privacy is often held to be a hindrance to innovation. But TNO takes a different view. If organizations respond appropriately to the requirements of privacy protection, benefits can accrue to health care providers as well as their clients. The right to privacy and to the protection of personal information can actually stimulate the improvement of health care quality, as well as lowering its costs.


To help those involved to respond effectively to the societal and legal challenges surrounding the processing of sensitive personal data, TNO has developed RESPECT4U, a privacy framework comprising seven principles and a mix of organizational and technological measures which organizations can take into account when handling the processing of personal health data. A TNO White Paper entitled ‘Privacy in digital health, a positive driver for innovation’ describes these principles in more detail.

White Paper: Privacy in digital health, a positive driver for innovation

Would you like more information on data privacy in health care? Read our White Paper.

Read White Paper

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