Browsing Tag

Wall Street Journal

There’s an App Some Companies Use that Tracks When a Female Employee has Stopped Filling Her Birth Control Prescriptions


Some companies, including Walmart, are hiring third-party firms like Castlight Healthcare Inc. to help them reduce their health care costs. Concern is that some of this “help” includes tracking when a woman has stopped filling her birth-control prescriptions and made fertility-related searches on Castlight’s health app.

An article in the Wall Street Journal this week stated that the collected data about employees help employers calculate people’s risks of certain health conditions. It scared a bunch of folks, especially on the Internet, who thought the app was a set up for pregnancy discrimination.

You could imagine the part about the app sending alerts about one’s personal and private moves sounds invasive and scary!

But it turns out the alerts are sent to the employees who are then “nudged” to make healthier choices that could lower their (and their employer’s) health care costs in the long run.

Data collected from the app is matched with the woman’s age, and if applicable, the ages of her children to compute the likelihood of an impending pregnancy, Castlight’s chief research and development officer Jonathan Rende, Castlight said. She would then start receiving emails or in-app messages with tips for choosing an obstetrician or other prenatal care. If the algorithm guessed wrong, she could opt out of receiving similar messages.

The employers only receive data in the aggregate and stripped form any personal-identifiable information.

Still, people think about that Target incident a few years ago, where the big box store used big data marketing analysis to send women who didn’t even know if they were pregnant yet coupons for baby products. Infamously, a father got a teen daughter’s baby coupons and learned before the teen could tell her dad that she thought she could be pregnancy.

These data-mining platforms are risky because sensitive health data is at risk of breaches and hackers, worse than a boss knowing that you’re looking to get pregnant in the near future.

It still pretty scary stuff!



h/t Vox

Chasing Tiger Woods: Study says spending more on kids’ sports yields less happy kids

Parents striving for their kids to become the next Tiger Woods or Michael Phelps or Venus and Serena Williams and spending beau coup bucks on their kids’ sport activities are actually making their kids hate the sport, new research states.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the researcher who studied parental spending on young athletes expected to find a positive correlation of happier kids to increased spending. Instead sport psychologist Travis Dorsch learned that  parents who spend more on their child’s athletics run the risk of reducing the child’s enjoyment of the sport.

 “When parental sports spending goes up, it increases the likelihood either that the child will feel pressure or that the parent will exert it,”  Dr. Dorsch, a Utah State University professor and former professional football player told the Journal.

The study notes that the increased investments stem from increased expectations that their kids will excel and return their investment, but that is unlikely in many cases where the kids are learning to despise the sport. It recommends that parents temper their financial output.

Read more in today’s Wall Street Journal.

post signature