An article in the Register reports that the Australian government has awarded a grant for a bit more than US $250,000 for a three-year study of ways to secure individual health data from fitness bands and other wearable devices. The potential benefits of such user-generated data are widely recognized. These include better health monitoring for individuals, as well as better understanding of health issues for the broader population.

The problem is that if doctors are to make medical decisions based on this information, they need to be certain about where the data comes from. This requires a secure feed all the way from the device to the patient’s electronic health records. No such system is in place now for the average consumer fitness device. Somehow the data must be “fingerprinted,” not only to confirm the identity of the wearer, but also to confirm that the data has not been corrupted or altered since it was initially gathered.

This is a significant problem that will have to be addressed on a broad basis before we can realize the full potential of wearable Health Tech devices.