How PHIT and Emerging Tech Could Change Policies and Your Gym

    From the possible passage of the PHIT Act to how you handle member data, changes are coming for health club operators in 2019.

    September 20, 2023 Update: The health and fitness industry continues to strongly advocate for Congress to #PassPHIT. To participate in active campaigns, visit the IHRSA action center. For more recent updates and resources, check out our PHIT page.

    PHIT has passed the House, but remains in the Senate. With the midterm elections just days away and senators returning to their districts to campaign, work in the Senate is at a standstill. That means PHIT’s best chance of passing during this Congress is after the midterm elections—also known as the lame duck session.

    Procedural rules in the Senate make it harder to pass legislation in the Senate than in the House. In the Senate, a bill only needs a simple majority—51 votes—to pass, but to guarantee you get to a vote, at least 60 votes are required for what is called cloture. Assuming 51 Republicans will vote yes, we need at least nine Democrats.

    Now is the time to get your Senator onboard with PHIT before the lame duck session in November. Here is a current list of Senate sponsors. Is your senator on there?

    If not, tell your senator that America needs PHIT today!

    Let’s Talk About Your Data—What to Expect in 2019

    Ten years from now, we could look back on 2018 as the year control of personal data was placed in the hands of individuals. From the Facebook data breaches and subsequent Congressional hearings to the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation coming into effect, 2018 has seen the pendulum swinging away from corporations monetizing personal data to greater control for individuals over what happens to their personal data.

    Fitness Data Rules Column Image

    Here is what 2018 brought:

    • The EU codified “the right to be forgotten” and consumer’s rights over their data through a law known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
    • Though the U.S. has not addressed this issue at the federal level, many states are attempting to craft laws giving tech and social media users greater rights to data privacy.
    • In 2018, IHRSA saw California introduce sweeping legislation regarding how long businesses can store data and what permissions are necessary.
    • Colorado passed a law this summer mandating businesses that keep Coloradans’ data need a written data management policy and must alert consumers within 30 days of a breach.

    Expect this trend to gain steam in 2019, as data privacy is on the minds of legislators in state houses across the country. This sea change in how we treat and view personal data—giving control to the individual—could have long-lasting ramifications for how business is conducted in the digital age and could create new markets altogether. Companies are already pushing forward on the value of personal data and how to make it work for them.

    For instance, John Hancock Life Insurance company recently announced that it would stop selling traditional policies, and instead only sell “interactive policies” that track fitness and health data through wearables and smartphones.

    Now imagine if there were a digital marketplace where you could choose to sell your data to companies, what would that look like? One of the top issues IHRSA will be watching in 2019 is the evolving value and importance of information, and you should be watching it, too!

    Author avatar

    Jeff Perkins

    Jeff Perkins previously served as IHRSA's Vice President of Governance & Public Affairs—a position that focused on monitoring and influencing legislation at the state and federal level to protect club business models and operations, and help promote the health benefits of exercise.