More and more people are denouncing an “uberisation” of medicine, using big data smart health technologies to set them aside. It is true that the question may arise, take the example of connected scales.
Technological and scientific progress
To illustrate our remarks we will take the example of a scale that has had some success in the market. This scale fulfills the classic functions of a connected scale, obviously evaluation of the conventional weight, then data transmission to a connected tool (smartphone or tablet): weight curve over a week, a month or a year, weight situation to date data, BMI and fat mass index. In a few seconds you can have a lot of technical data. We can therefore analyze these data ourselves and therefore adapt our diet and physical activity. This is useful when you want to follow a program that suits us, but it can lead to excesses. This is one of the hot spots of connected health.
Attention to the leak forward
In addition to the data evoked, this scale also makes it possible to share these results online. If this feature can fulfill its primary role of tracking and motivating, it can also push for a real obsession with performance. In an article dating from 2014, Madame Le Figaro gathers testimonies of people having been dragged by this infernal spiral. When a doctor or nutritionist keeps track of appointments spaced several weeks apart, the connected scale can impose a daily check that can be dangerous. This can therefore be associated with eating disorders.
If big data can be useful, they should not overshadow the part of medical monitoring. If you buy a connected scale for the purpose of following a special diet, this can not be done without consulting the advice of a doctor. The use of big data in medicine raises many questions. In an article devoted to the question, “despite the opportunities in these areas, many ethical issues remain”. This brings us back to the debate about self-care and its dangers. The data provided by the connected scale must be taken as a source of information, as indications but must dictate the behavior to follow, this can not be done without a doctor.
Big data is revolutionizing many areas and medicine is not left out. New data appear, all analysable very quickly. But a question of ethics arises, can we use it without being a doctor? Connected scales are the perfect example. If they are useful and can provide a lot of information, they should not change our behavior without the advice of an expert. They can accompany, in no case to cure.