Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

Medtronic, which has a database of information on 400,000 patients who have implanted defibrillators, says patients aren’t likely to be able to make use of the data. “We understand patients want to see their data, but we want to make sure it’s data that is valuable to them,” says Wendy Dougherty, a spokesperson for Medtronic. “We’re working with patients to understand what kind of information would be beneficial for them.”

To Campos, the idea that patients need to be protected from this information is infuriating. “Who owns the data collected in my body?” he says. “Should it benefit the company, so they can use it for post-market surveillance? Or me, so that I can make better decisions about my health?” He has declined to use a bedside monitor that collects information from his defibrillator. (The device can still deliver life-saving electrical shocks, if needed.)

The industry’s stance may at last be changing. In September, Campos talked with the director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, which told him it has no official jurisdiction over the raw data collected from implanted devices. But a representative did bring up the issue at a meeting of ADVAMED, the trade industry for medical-device makers, where some of the major manufacturers reportedly said they are open to the idea.

In addition to working with device makers and the FDA, Campos is considering a less conventional tactic: hacking into his device. He has collected an array of implantable defibrillators and external monitors, both from eBay and from other patients, so that he can figure out how to listen in on the flow of information. He has yet to do so, however.

For now, Campos laments the strange position he is in. “The device is part of me; parts of it can never be removed,” he says. “It’s like I am just the host of it. It creates a weird divorce of the self.”

1 comment. Share your thoughts »

Credit: Hugo Campos

Tagged: Biomedicine, data, medical implants, hardware hacks

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me
×

A Place of Inspiration

Understand the technologies that are changing business and driving the new global economy.

September 23-25, 2014
Register »