I love my Fitbit. Admittedly, this is at least a little bit in part because I can challenge my siblings in competitions and earn “trophies” for my efforts, but that’s not my only reason. I’m also interested in the data. As a lifelong athlete, I love the information it collects about my sleep cycles, physical activity and heart rate. All of these capabilities offer insights about what’s going on with my body.
It’s widely known that consumer health data is on the rise, largely as a result of the adoption of “wearables” like the Fitbit. Today, approximately one in four Americans owns a wearable device, and unsurprisingly, Millennials are leading the charge with a near 50 percent adoption rate.
A recent STAT News article highlighted the impact chronic diseases have on the US healthcare system and the role wearables can play in the industry. Wearable technology presents an opportunity to potentially curb healthcare spending by positively influencing user decisions and encouraging adoption of healthy behaviors. Within the pharmaceutical industry, some companies have even begun utilizing wearables as a way to support patients’ interactions with their doctor and help them better manage their health by providing more accurate, real-time data.
However, pharmaceutical companies aren’t the only ones taking advantage of this technology. Insurers, as well as employers outside the healthcare industry, have also begun offering incentives to their employees for utilizing wearables and achieving pre-set goals or milestones. This not only encourages healthy competition, but also inspires employees to be active and adopt healthy behaviors. In fact, CCA recently began participating in inVentiv Health’s company-wide step challenges, which award participants with redeemable rewards points.
Since appearing on the market, wearables have generally received positive reviews. Yet there are still some unknowns, such as data privacy and users’ over indulgence and reliance upon on the technology. While there may be some merit to these concerns, I believe I’ve benefited much more than I’ve been hurt by my Fitbit and think this stance will hold true as wearable technology continues to evolve. No matter your stance, one thing is for certain: it’s definitely a trend worth keeping an eye on.
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