Study: 68% Of Aussies Don’t Want Their Health Data Used For Marketing

Fitbit versa fitness tracker and smartwatch on a Caucasian male wrist. Used for fitness and health tracking. Close-up
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The vast majority of Australians show a strong level of discomfort (68 per cent) with health and wellbeing brands using their data to market and advertise more appropriate products and services to them, according to a study published today by global tech communications consultancy Hotwire, in partnership with data and insights leader The Leading Edge.

Approximately the same proportion of respondents (66 per cent) said they were worried that companies and brands would exploit their health data, and an outstanding 81 per cent think that only health professionals should have access to them.

Further analysed in a whitepaper What Australians want from healthcare and technology: seven key principles for health marketing, the results provide insights for health brands and organisations on the way to engage efficiently with Australians, while considering their concerns about the way their health and wellbeing data are handled.

The data lockdown

More than one in four Australians (27 per cent) use health and wellbeing related apps on a daily basis. Despite the uptake in the use of healthcare digital devices and services in recent years, it is clear that Australians want to track and limit sharing their health data as much as possible. More than half (53 per cent) say they would never share their health or wellbeing data with any company or brand, only one in six (15 per cent) would share data with health care companies, or health insurers, and one in ten (11 per cent) with medical device companies.

“Marketing to Australians therefore present a clear challenge for health and wellbeing related brands. To engage effectively with consumers, marketers in the health space must develop insight-driven strategies that build trust and credibility,” said Hotwire Australia managing director Jaime Nelson. “We also found that two in three Australians don’t even know who has access to their health data, it is therefore vital to address legitimate concerns about privacy and brand accountability.”

Ways in

This focus on credibility and accountability is further confirmed by the fact that Australians are looking for an ethical element to sharing health data, in either the parties they interact with, or the outcome of it. This is true across all generations, with more than half (55 per cent) of Australians saying they would only share their health data with companies and brands who are known to have high ethical standards.

“In terms of credibility, endorsement from health practitioners also plays a huge role.” said The Leading Edge managing partner Lee Naylor. “Way more than half of respondents said they would only share their health data with an organisation if a health practitioner recommended they do so. For Australians, doctors are the true custodian of their data, so brands have to understand and leverage that. They also have to communicate their brand purpose effectively, but it has to be authentic. Lip service will not cut it, and rather may be called out as hypocrisy, leading to reputational damage.”

“We found there are ways for wellbeing and health companies to establish a system of trust with consumers, but that requires more credentials than organisations from other industries.” added Nelson. “The ability to operate with strong ethical values, show consumers how using their health data will benefit the broader community, and secure credible endorsements will all make a difference in the eyes of Australians. Particularly among younger generations who seem to be more open to data sharing, but in return, would expect even stronger values.”

 

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