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Personalized health technology is a noisy new entrant to the health space, yet to make a significant impact on population health but seemingly teeming with potential. Devices including wearable fitness trackers and healthy-living apps are designed to help users quantify and improve their health behaviors. Although the ethical issues surrounding data privacy have received much attention, little is being said about the impact on socioeconomic health inequalities. Populations who stand to benefit the most from these technologies are unable to afford, access, or use them. This paper outlines the negative impact that these technologies will have on inequalities unless their user base can be radically extended to include vulnerable populations. Frugal innovation and public-private partnership are discussed as the major means for reaching this end.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Medical Internet Research

Publication Date