See that weird rash caused by a fitbit? That’s the only time a doctor will ever care about your fitbit. They’ll never care about the data generated from these devices, ever. Why?

Because ignorance is bliss. Imagine if a doctor’s typical panel of 2500 patients all had fitbits and were all generating data and sharing all that daily data with doctors. That’s a lot of data for a doctor to digest on a daily basis. Of course the doctor surely wouldn’t be responsible for all of that data. The doctor would only be responsible for the data that sets off some sort of trigger. Let’s say that there’s a miracle device with a miracle algorithm that flags 1% of users as atypical and something the doctor should be analyzing. That means a doctor would then be looking at data from 25 patients a day. Doctors typically see 25 patients a day in their practice, so now they are responsible for 25 more patients, analyzing their data, and then acting on the results. Meanwhile they’re not getting paid for this kind of management. Would this be a co-pay that patients pay? Could doctors open up cases for you that would then give them the freedom to take your co-pay whenever they want?

And what happens when they overlook a blip in someone’s data and don’t act on it? Are they negligent? Will they be sued for malpractice? Will you also be able to sue Apple or Fitbit because of a flawed algorithm that didn’t trigger alarms for life-threatening data it’s collecting about you? 

It’s the same issue with paper records. If you have your paper records and deliver an inch-thick of paper to your new doctor, it’s in the doctor’s best interest to refuse to take them. Because if they do take them, they are assuming responsibility for them and are then expected to know the information in that stack of papers. If they don’t take them, they can always claim ignorance. And, legally, ignorance is much better than negligence.

For doctors, it’s best to ignore these devices and this data. Too much data coming at you. And too many unknowns. With increasing data streams targeted at you and increasing risk of malpractice, it’s probably better to just keep your distance and call them “cute.”