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Report
11 November 2014

Sincere support

The rise of the e-coach
Trust in technology e-Health
E-coaching is on the rise. Smart, personal coaching apps can help us live healthier, more productive, and more environmentally friendly lives. However, there is no guarantee that the new digital coaches are being developed in a reliable and honest manner. That is the conclusion of this report.

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Summary

E-coaching is on the rise. Smart, personal coaching apps can help us live healthier, more productive, and more environmentally friendly lives. However, there is no guarantee that the new digital coaches are being developed in a reliable and honest manner.
That is the conclusion of the Rathenau Instituut in its report Sincere support – The rise of the e-coach.

 

Preferred citation:
Kool L., J. Timmer and R. van Est (ed.), Sincere support. The rise of the e-coach. The Hague, Rathenau Instituut 2015

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Recommendations

Introducing quality criteria is necessary to ensure that e-coaches provide reliable and sincere support.

  1. Professional seal of approval
    Consumer organisations and app developers should reach agreement on quality criteria for e-coaches. Consumers need information about what the e-coach does and on what information the e-coach comes to its advice.
     
  2. Guarantee privacy
    The stricter privacy legislation that is on the horizon imposes more stringent requirements on product developers. Product developers and governments need to prepare now for those requirements and work diligently on protecting privacy.
     
  3. Respect autonomy
    The e-coach influences the user in order to bring about a change in his behaviour. Providers of e-coaches should therefore be compelled to make clear what techniques of persuasion the device is using.
     
  4. Government bears the burden of proof
    Government can only make the use of an e-coach mandatory if it first demonstrates that doing so is justified.
     
  5. Transparent revenue models
    Users of e-coaches now deal with a network of parties, each of which has its own (commercial)  interests. The user’s interest are not always automatically the top priority. The Rathenau Instituut calls on regulatory bodies to investigate the revenue models used for e-coaching applications. Governments should also make it mandatory for providers to be transparent about their revenue model.
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