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Wearable health tech in early days, but long-term benefits emerging

Brian Eastwood | Nov. 7, 2014
Wearable tech for monitoring health and fitness primarily remains a tool of those who are already active, but a recent PwC report suggests that the general public is beginning to understand the benefits.

To get beyond the "early days" of wearables, though, two things need to happen. For starters, wearables must experience a "further evolution of the data that's available," beyond simply measuring activity, D'Alessandro says. More advanced devices that can gather sleep, accelerometer or even heart rate data will start to solidify wearable tech's place in remote patient monitoring efforts, he says.

In addition, the data from wearable tech must evolve from knowledge to insight. For example, it's one thing to know how many steps you take, how many calories you burn and how many calories you consume. It's another thing to calculate your basal metabolic rate, or the amount of calories your body burns if it's otherwise inactive, and develop a wellness plan accordingly. Turning device data into something actionable for a patient will move wearables from their early days into larger-scale adoption, D'Alessandro says.

That requires overcoming another obstacle: Getting patients to share data. Roughly 75 percent of PwC's respondents aren't comfortable sharing health data with friends and family, but 54 percent say they trust their primary care physicians with that data.

"Given the right value proposition, consumers will share that information," D'Alessandro says.

 

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