Tag: mhealth

Wearable technology sales are high with fitness trackers, research required

While these wearables are highly popular, some evidence is showing that they may not be fully accurate.

In the wearable technology category, no other device is selling as quickly as fitness trackers, which is great news for companies such as Fitbit, which recently took its first steps onto the stock market.

However, experts are saying that people should be careful what information they trust from these wearables.

While experts do agree that wearable technology devices can be extremely helpful in encouraging people to set fitness and health goals, what isn’t yet known is whether or not those gadgets are actually helping users to be able to reach those goals so that they will be able to give themselves an advantage at gaining a healthier body. The advantage to these devices appears to be primarily in encouraging people to create goals and to obtain reminders to stick to those goals. Those features definitely works and a growing number of studies have shown that this is providing people with a measurable advantage.

Evidence that this wearable technology provides reliable feedback in other areas is very limited.

Wearable Technology - fitness trackerAt the moment, research that has been conducted on the devices to show that they actually work in terms of the feedback that they provide (such as counting steps, calories burned, distance traveled, etc) is very limited. It has been conducted on small numbers or on specific groups of people, so far. There isn’t yet any reliable data with regards to use by the general population.

Fitness trackers are being seen virtually everywhere and come in many forms, such as being attached to clothing, worn on wrists, or fixed to shoes. While they are gathering a large amount of data, what isn’t known is how reliable that data is, or how that data is being used by the wearers.

What isn’t yet known is whether the steps counted, calories burned, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and sleep quality data are accurate enough to be appropriate to guide the decisions of the wearers. The other factor is that it is not yet known if – regardless of the accuracy of the data – users are actually applying that data to improve their health and performance, particularly over the long term.

Current consumer wearable technology is paving the way for future mhealth

The wearables that people are now wearing are helping to direct the development of clinical devices.

Wearable technology has, quite suddenly, become very popular for use in the area of health and fitness tracking when it comes to consumer tech devices, and the mhealth industry is viewing this as a tremendous opportunity with regards to developing future clinical devices.

This could mean that wearables and smartphone apps, alike, could start to play an integral role in tomorrow’s health care.

Parks Associates research has indicated that about 30 percent of homes in the United States that have broadband connections already have some form of connected device that can be used for health purposes. It has also estimated that by the end of next year, there will be over 32 million American consumers who will be actively tracking their fitness and health either by way of wearable technology or another form of mobile device.

Equally, using wearable technology devices within the mobile health field has also been on the rise.

Wearable Technology - Health IndustryDirector of health and mobile product research at Parks Associates, Harry Wang, explained that as popular as wearables are becoming, they are also starting to stand out within the health and medical industries. These gadgets are being seen as a wonderful opportunity for mhealth uses, such as monitoring vital signs (like blood pressure or insulin levels), which can be very helpful for improving health care access and quality.

In an article that he wrote for the Digital Health News published by his firm, Wang explained that “the design trends for wearables in the medical field follow what is happening in the fitness area — they are becoming more discreet, with more user-centric designs and highly integrated functions.”

As consumers become more confident with their mobile devices, they are also starting to look to additional gadgets, such as those in the wearable technology category, to provide them with more practical and usable benefits. This opens up a world of opportunity for creating devices and supporting apps that will allow people to take greater control of their own wellness and to provide their doctors with additional data for a more accurate understanding of their overall condition, as opposed to what is exclusively available through a doctor’s appointment.