In questioning the health benefit of wearables, the article below touches upon some recent positive trends. For instance, insurers are seeing the value of wearables in helping patients manage their health and are rewarding its members for utilization, providers are also realizing their value and are recommending them to their patients, and software companies that partner with wearable manufacturers are demonstrating the ability to process and integrate the information into EHR systems for most efficient use.
However, the article also acknowledges that in order for wearables to be useful, the data needs to be better understood to most effectively guide health decisions and improve health outcomes. I would also add that the following is crucial for wearable technologies to have a real health benefit and result in a healthier population:
- We need to acknowledge that individual needs vary, and so we need to capture the right information in such a way that enables a more tailored health recommendation rather than a generic one that based on the average person
- We need to provide evidence to payers and providers that wearable devices actually reduce the cost of care for chronic diseases (such as diabetes) and have a real impact on health outcomes in order to establish a reimbursement model and encourage wider adoption and sustained usage
- We need to address concerns related to data sharing and privacy by applying guidelines and “best practices” on the use of wearable technology and by implementing appropriate security measures
People measure how many steps they take because it makes them feel healthy, like they're doing something proactive for the body and mind. But can that measurement—the actual number itself—make people healthier?