Prospective Intention-Based Lifestyle Contracts: mHealth Technology and Responsibility in Healthcare

Emily Feng-Gu, Jim Everett, Rebecca Brown, Hannah Maslen, Justin Oakley, Julian Savulescu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

As the rising costs of lifestyle-related diseases place increasing strain on public healthcare systems, the individual’s role in disease may be proposed as a healthcare rationing criterion. Literature thus far has largely focused on retrospective responsibility in healthcare. The concept of prospective responsibility, in the form of a lifestyle contract, warrants further investigation. The responsibilisation in healthcare debate also needs to take into account innovative developments in mobile health technology, such as wearable biometric devices and mobile apps, which may change how we hold others accountable for their lifestyles. Little is known about public attitudes towards lifestyle contracts and the use of mobile health technology to hold people responsible in the context of healthcare. This paper has two components. Firstly, it details empirical findings from a survey of 81 members of the United Kingdom general public on public attitudes towards individual responsibility and rationing healthcare, prospective and retrospective responsibility, and the acceptability of lifestyle contracts in the context of mobile health technology. Secondly, we draw on the empirical findings and propose a model of prospective intention-based lifestyle contracts, which is both more aligned with public intuitions and less ethically objectionable than more traditional, retrospective models of responsibility in healthcare.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalHealth Care Analysis
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Healthcare
  • Lifestyle contract
  • mHealth
  • Resource allocation
  • Responsibility

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