9th March 2017 KudosHealth

Use employees’ health data correctly

When enterprise applications used in the workplace are used to eliminate people from internal job opportunities.
During a recent exhibition where we were visited by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, we were asked a very important question that surprisingly enough doesn’t get asked often enough in our conversations with HR professionals.

Enda, asked ‘What if the health information gathered on an employee by KudosHealth, was used against them in a negative way? Say for example there was me and others in line for a promotion at work, and from the health information gathered it was evident that I was going to have a serious health issue in the near future. And with this information at hand, I was ruled out of the running for the promotion on that basis?’

Very good question.. Our health employee engagement solution has this issue at the core of its development; we as an external third party who is hired to engage employees in their own health we only make aggregated employees’ information available to the employer. We don’t provide employers with any detailed information about any employees, or their individual health status.

Our system uses a points scoring system which converts an employee’s physical activities into a single unit points score which doesn’t disclose what activities they completed, where and when they were done, or how long they were done for. Other employees and their employer are able to see the number of points a user has earned when they opt-in various competitions created by the employer.

What our clients want to see is how many employees are engaging in the various health and fitness initiatives, or competitions they set-up, which of their business units, company’s locations or sites are more engaged in healthy activities, and they would also like to see how their company’s health efforts compare to other companies, which we do anonymously within our platform.

The question the Taoiseach raised was a very good question because there are many applications out there, whether it is for health, or other uses that the information collected could be used against an individual in a negative way.
But this is nothing new, there has always been ways for employers to differentiate one employee over the other when it comes to opt-in enterprise applications, or any other company activity be it online or off-line, employees can be seen to be engaged if they attend, the blood screening appointment, if they participate in sports days, team building events, or attend the Christmas party.

So, in conclusion we can see why any employee may be concerned about any data being collected on them, although being collected in good faith for legitimate purposes it could be used in negative manner against them. But this was an issue that was always there along before the internet came along, but because of the internet’s ability to collect data, people’s concerns are always heightened, with using the web, applications any sort of digital activity online.
The best advice we can give our clients is to be up-front and disclose to employees what data is collected and what it will be used for, this approach works, and 90.9% of our users answered in a recent survey that they had no privacy concerns in using the KudosHealth application offered by their employer.
Full user survey is available on request. Just use the contact us form on the left sidebar.