i3 - May/June 2017 - 51

By Steve Koenig

Business

M A R K E T B E AT

Wearable Tech Finds a Fit in Health Care

 T  

he success of fitness and activity trackers is blazing
a trail to a much larger opportunity in health care through
medical-grade devices worn by consumers to monitor
and/or treat chronic disease or other conditions. The next few years
are critical to advancing the market for wearables in health care as
industry, health insurance companies, the medical community and
consumers (patients) work together to find the right fit.

New B2B research from
Consumers need to
CTA highlights the market
embrace the technology
potential for wearables in
and use it to make
a true difference in
U.S. health care as well as the
their lifestyles.
possible pitfalls in its report,
Wearable Health and Fitness
Technology in U.S. Medical
Care (January 2017). In
addition to generating a new
competitive market with
projected sales in the billions
of dollars, medical-grade
wearables could save billions
of dollars in health care costs.
Not surprisingly, the linchpin for integrating wearables
in health care is consumer
adoption - and use compliance - of the technology.
Rapid consumer uptake of
fitness trackers over the past few years is
manage patients' wearable data.
a positive sign despite abandonment rates
Challenges for physicians include time
as high as 30 percent (Gartner, 2016).
to analyze patient data, integrating
However, a stronger prediction of patient
the data into electronic health records,
acceptance is consumers' increasing desire
and securing the data. Evolution from
for convenience in all things, fueled by the
the current fee-for-services model to
Internet of Things (IoT).
a value-based case model would increase
chances for wearables to succeed.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle confronting
Monitoring the Data
wearables in health care is establishing the
While wearables will enable a convenient
way to manage or treat chronic conditions, efficacy of the data collected. While sensor
innovation has addressed the need for
the data they generate could create comprecision and accuracy of measurements
plexity for physicians under the current
of medical-grade wearables, evidence of
fee-for-service model where there is little
positive outcomes from the technology is
or no incentive for doctors to proactively

generally lacking - at present. This is
especially true among unregulated activity
trackers. Expect innovation to advance
more purpose-built wearable devices,
validated by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), which build the
documentation of efficacy demanded by
doctors. Meanwhile, expect activity trackers and other unregulated
'fitness' wearables to continue to serve as tools to help
consumers take control of
their lifestyles.

Encouraging
Healthy Habits
Insurance companies also
are waking up to wearables
as a means to get patients
and policyholders to adopt
more healthy behaviors.
CTA's study articulates how
insurance companies like
United Health Care, Cigna
and John Hancock are finding increasing value in
wearables and the personal
data they collect to validate
their calculation of risk.
Company wellness programs also play
a role in fostering broader acceptance and
adoption of wearables in a health context.
How wearables will ultimately fit into
the U.S. health care system comes down to
consumers and care providers. Consumers
need to embrace the technology and use
it to make a true difference in their lifestyles. Medical professionals need to
accept the technology as a real driver for
better health and wellness. But, they will
only do so when there is scientific evidence
of positive health outcomes. Keep up-todate on this evolving market with CTA
market research and industry forecasts. n

Courtesy of Fitbit

In addition to generating a new competitive market with
projected sales in the billions of dollars, medical-grade
wearables could save billions of dollars in health care costs.
C TA . t e c h / i 3

MAY/JUNE 2017

51


http://www.CTA.tech/research http://www.CTA.tech/research http://www.CTA.tech/research http://www.CTA.tech/i3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - May/June 2017

Contents
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