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Remote Health Monitoring: big brother or big help?

Picture of workers using PCs.UK law firm Eversheds reports Microsoft has applied for a patent for workplace monitoring software. It could remotely monitor a worker's wellbeing, productivity and competence using metabolic measures like heart rate, temperature and movement and relate them to their psychological profile.

Trade unions are concerned that such software could be used to support cases for dismissal, but Eversheds reminds us of its double edge. Workers may equally be able to claim they were subject to undue stress, which might entitle them to reasonable adjustments to their job and working conditions.

I attended a healthcare CIO conference at Microsoft in Reading UK last week. Fellow blogger Dr. Bill Crounce showed a short clip of a vision of future healthcare that made use of remote monitoring and also surface computing. Cabinets next to a patient's bed could indicate to a patient or a carer when it was time for medication to be to be taken by coloured rings around the drug containers, for instance.

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