However 71% of employees believe that employers can use it to improve their health
New research has revealed that while the majority of staff think businesses should support mental and physical health using technology, there are widespread concerns that this data could be used against them.
The global survey of 4000 employees in the UK, UK, UAE and Singapore from Aetna International found that 71% of employees believed their employer can help them manage physical health better though technology, while 61% said the said the same of their mental health.
More than two thirds supported the provision of smart watch or fitness tracker to benefit mental and physical health and three quarters said they would use an app to help manage their mental health. Adding to this, 69% felt that access to physical health services through an employer via their phone would help them manage their physical health better - 75% said the same about mental health.
Despite this, 64% said they were worried that personal health data could be used by employers as criteria for promotion or to establish salary grades, while a large number they were concerned that their employer would share it with third parties (67%) or government agencies or institutions (57%).
Richard di Benedetto, president at Aetna International, said: "Technology has not only revolutionised how we collaborate, communicate and work, but also how organisations help support and improve employee health and well-being. In the current climate, high-tech, high-touch corporate well-being strategies that include apps, devices, and virtual access to care services are high on the list of employee demands. Businesses have a significant opportunity to embrace technology and innovation and fundamentally change their values, culture and approach to employee health.
"Of course, with more digital innovation comes more data, and a greater need to alleviate employees' concerns about the use of their health data. All employers are responsible for the privacy and protection of their employees' health data, ensuring that individuals retain ownership and control."
According to the study, circumstances where employees indicated they would willingly share their health data include helping to improve health and wellness benefits offered across the business (80%) and helping their business to offer more personalised health benefits (74%).
Over two thirds also said they would share personal health data if it helped to improve company culture (69%), while 75% would do so to help improve workplace policies.
Richard di Benedetto added: "Interestingly, our research shows that when data is used responsibly, many people are open to sharing anonymised health data. This suggests employees understand the powerful role technology can play in enabling and informing a business's strategies. If handled correctly, it presents an incredible opportunity for employers to foster trust, and for all parties to help shape the corporate culture and approach to workforce health and wellbeing."
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