Yearb Med Inform 2017; 26(01): 160-171
DOI: 10.15265/IY-2017-009
Section 7: Consumer Health Informatics
Working Group Contribution
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart

Added Value from Secondary Use of Person Generated Health Data in Consumer Health Informatics

Contribution of the Consumer Health Informatics IMIA Working Group
P.-Y. Hsueh
1  Center for Computational Health, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY, USA
Y.-K. Cheung
2  Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
S. Dey
3  Center for Computational Health, IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY, USA
K. K. Kim
4  Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, University of California Davis, Sacramento, CA, USA
F. J. Martin-Sanchez
5  Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, Division of Health Informatics, Environmental and Participatory Health Informatics (ENaPHI) Research Group, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY, USA
S. K. Petersen
6  University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA
T. Wetter
7  Institute of Medical Biometry and Informatics, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany and Dept. of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
11 September 2017 (online)



Introduction: Various health-related data, subsequently called Person Generated Health Data (PGHD), is being collected by patients or presumably healthy individuals as well as about them as much as they become available as measurable properties in their work, home, and other environments. Despite that such data was originally just collected and used for dedicated predefined purposes, more recently it is regarded as untapped resources that call for secondary use.

Method: Since the secondary use of PGHD is still at its early evolving stage, we have chosen, in this paper, to produce an outline of best practices, as opposed to a systematic review. To this end, we identified key directions of secondary use and invited protagonists of each of these directions to present their takes on the primary and secondary use of PGHD in their sub-fields. We then put secondary use in a wider perspective of overarching themes such as privacy, interpretability, interoperability, utility, and ethics.

Results: We present the primary and secondary use of PGHD in four focus areas: (1) making sense of PGHD in augmented Shared Care Plans for care coordination across multiple conditions; (2) making sense of PGHD from patient-held sensors to inform cancer care; (3) fitting situational use of PGHD to evaluate personal informatics tools in adaptive concurrent trials; (4) making sense of environment risk exposure data in an integrated context with clinical and omics-data for biomedical research.

Discussion: Fast technological progress in all the four focus areas calls for a societal debate and decision-making process on a multitude of challenges: how emerging or foreseeable results transform privacy; how new data modalities can be interpreted in light of clinical data and vice versa; how the sheer mass and partially abstract mathematical properties of the achieved insights can be interpreted to a broad public and can consequently facilitate the development of patient-centered services; and how the remaining risks and uncertainties can be evaluated against new benefits. This paper is an initial summary of the status quo of the challenges and proposals that address these issues. The opportunities and barriers identified can serve as action items individuals can bring to their organizations when facing challenges to add value from the secondary use of patient-generated health data.