Yep, Ancestry Health is here – in beta. We knew it was coming.
I was startled to see Ancestry enter the health arena, given the problems that 23andMe has had with federal regulation, but after I took a look at Ancestry Health, I realized it’s nothing at all like the 23andMe health information. 23andMe provided you with health information based on your DNA test. Ancestry Health does not. In fact, Ancestry Health only does two things.
- Ancestry Health gathers your health information to tie to your tree and DNA information. This process requests your “informed consent” to provide that information to others. Ancestry didn’t say this, but for example, sold to Big Pharm. This is what Ancestry Health does for Ancestry.
- Ancestry Health provides, in picture (tree) and summary format, the health information you input for you and your family. That’s what Ancestry Health does for you.
What benefit is that, to you, you ask? I was asking the same thing. Let’s take a look.
Here are the intro screens.
If you click “get started,” the next thing you see is a consent form.
You are required to click the “I have read and accept the Terms and Conditions” box, but the “Informed Consent” box, which is optional, is strategically located above the Terms and Conditions box.
The “informed consent” is the portion that gives Ancestry permission to pretty much do anything with your information. At least, as a consumer, that’s my interpretation.
Now, I’m not a lawyer, and hopefully Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, will take a look at this and have some commentary.
Why, because this is what the Ancestry Health site says:
“By using the Service you consent to the collection, use, storage, and disclosure of personal information by AncestryHealth in accordance with this Privacy Statement.”
And from the Ancestry Health Privacy Statement (emphasis is mine):
“Subject to the restrictions described in this Privacy Statement and applicable law, we may use personal information for any reasonable purpose related to AncestryHealth’s business, including without limitation to provide the Service to you, to communicate with you, to provide you information about products and services offered by AncestryHealth and/or any of AncestryHealth’s affiliates, subsidiaries, and other related companies (the “Ancestry Group”), to respond to your requests, to update our product offerings, to improve the content and user experience on the Health Website, to let you know about offers of interest from AncestryHealth, the Ancestry Group, or other parties we think may be of interest to you, and to prepare and perform demographic, benchmarking, advertising, marketing, and promotional studies.”
You need to know what you are consenting to. Read all of the documents in their entirety, BEFORE you do this.
The link to the terms and conditions and their privacy statement is at the bottom of each page.
As far as I’m concerned, these paragraphs from Terms and Conditions are fairly telling.
I decided to proceed, WITHOUT, I repeat, WITHOUT signing the informed consent to see what happened next. The only reason I proceeded is because I can’t very well write this article without proceeding. Please do not interpret the fact that I participated in the Ancestry Health beta as an endorsement. It isn’t.
I signed on with my Ancestry account name and ID and Ancestry asked me which of my trees I would like to import?
I imported my mini-tree. The next question was about my height, weight, smoking history and exercise. They’ve blown it right there….asking people about their weight and expecting an honest response.
Next, you select from conditions to associate with your health.
The next step asks about your ethnicity….and of course plugs their DNA test.
Clicking next takes you to the health condition screen where you associate conditions with the family members in your tree.
I selected Vascular Disease since my mother died of a stroke and then selected Cancer since my grandfather died of cancer.
Then I selected Heart Conditions since my father had angina and both of my grandmother’s had heart issues. Actually everyone in this tree, except for me, had heart issues because they are all dead now…but I’m thinking that’s not what Ancestry meant.
This is what you receive at the end. In your Family Health Tree, your family members are colored with their health conditions. I already knew this. In fact, I just input that information.
Ancestry also shows you a summary of what you’ve input, which is downloadable.
You can then click on the condition to see what they call the “Family History Effect.”
That’s what you get. Really, nothing that you didn’t already know. After all, you just entered that information.
What did Ancestry get? Health, ethnicity and lifestyle information for you and your family to sell along with your DNA information, if you signed the informed consent. If you don’t sign the informed consent, your information can still be utilized, just without your identity attached, per the verbiage in their terms and conditions, privacy statement and informed consent documents.
A few minutes after entering my information, I received this e-mail from Ancestry.
Whoever thought a few years ago when genetic genealogy began that Ancestry would develop such a personal interest in our health and well-being.