Put the FitBit down: why you shouldn’t use wearables to monitor employees’ health

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I wear a FitBit and compete with my friends for the most number of steps each week. But, it’s only a friendly competition and meant only to encourage us to be a bit healthier. But what if it wasn’t friends encouraging friends, but your boss? And the reward wasn’t the satisfaction of knowing you walked 10,000 more steps than Karen and Eleanora, but that your health insurance premiums were lower?

No one wants to pay more for health insurance premiums, but is using wearable devices to monitor your employees’ health really a good option?

Some companies think so. Forbes reports that petroleum giant BP uses FitBit data to grant discounts on health insurance rates. And we’ve reported on companies like Global Corporate Challenge that will help you set up competitions among employees to encourage their overall “wellness.”

Some people love it. Especially those who get to shell out less cash for health insurance. But, there is a dark side to the collection and use of all this data. Here’s why you should reconsider (literally) tracking your employees every step: evilhrlady.org.
  • Katie HR on 5/19/2014 10:04:26 AM

    My guess is that they offer more than one way to earn credit. So wearing the FitBit isn't the only way to reduce premiums. I think it's fine to offer this to employees as long as there are ample and suitable alternatives. And, of course, if their confidentiality is protected... No one should know how many steps "Anita" walked unless she tells them.
    Thanks for this thoughtful article!

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