Wearable Technology for Healthcare
The consumer eHealth and health insurance industry is set to have a major focus on wearable technology with the benefits it can provide to both consumers and health care providers. 1 in 5 American’s now owns a wearable tech device. Consumer belief in wearable technology is also extremely high with 56% of consumers believing that the average life expectancy increases over 10 years due to wearables monitoring vital signs. The two most popular devices in the market currently are fitness bands and smart watches. Despite the growth of wearables, the use of wearable tech is still in its infancy with users weighing in on the benefits as well as the unmet expectations with wearable technology.
The Struggle with Overcoming Consumer Concerns
One big issue with wearable technology is consumer abandonment. Almost a third of all wearable device consumers reported using it less or not at all only a year after buying it. Another common issue consumers have with wearable technology is concerns of privacy and security breaches. 82% of consumers worry about an invasion of privacy and over 86% worry that wearables make consumers more vulnerable to security breaches. Despite these concerns, consumers are also seeing a lot of added benefits from wearable technology.
Added benefits from Wearable Technology
Wearable technology provides benefits to not only consumers, but also to health care providers and businesses. 46% of consumers believe wearable technology can help them to lose weight and as well increase life expectancy by being able to actively monitor vital signs on a regular basis. BP distributed 16,000 FitBits to its employees as part of a large health plan for employees. This dropped corporate healthcare costs well below the national growth rate.
Humana uses wearables to reward fitness activities with reduced premiums, gift cards and health devices. A three-year study of employees using this HumanaVitality health plan showed a 44% decrease in sick days for employees. This is starting to become a trend in many workplaces as a healthier workforce results in lower health care costs for both the employee and the health care provider. It’s a win-win situation with everyone saving money.
The Future of Wearables
As it stands right now, wearable technology can increase consumer engagement, track physical activity, as well as collect health data. Current wearable programs are being fine-tuned to provide more benefits for consumers, employers, insurers and health care providers and other stakeholders. The wearables that will provide the most value in the future will:
- Embrace opportunities in the Internet of Things
- Transform big data into valuable information that provides insights
- Simplify user experience with a more human-centered design
- To learn more about how wearables are revolutionizing the health care industry, check out this useful and informative infographic from the Northwestern School of Professional Studies.