Wearable technology is still in its infancy, and consumers are considering the ways in which it might impact their lives. For many, the answer is: minimally. These wearable technologies are often more pricey sidesteps from capabilities already offered on smart phones or tablets. For the everyday individual, wearable devices' current capabilities are not a major upgrade over their iPhones and Droids. For example, a number of testers found the Google Glass to be difficult to get used to and stylistically awkward, according to Consumer Reports.
But for healthcare providers, wearable devices offer a new frontier that could change their processes for the better. Physicians have plenty to gain from the insight wearables would provide, while individuals can easily track and report a number of daily statistics. For small health offices, investing in the new technology would be a worthwhile endeavor.
Devices benefit individuals' health
A new study from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) showed that only 21 percent of the 1,000 consumers surveyed owned a wearable device, according to CIO. But over half of the participants expressed the belief that wearables might increase life expectancy by a decade, while 40 percent envisioned exercise monitoring and nutritional benefits. Many said they would be more interested in the devices if health insurance companies offered a rate reduction as an incentive.
The demographics most interested in wearable devices to track fitness were active young adults and middle-aged women who are caring for both their children and their parents.
"We believe there's consumer demand for so many devices that help us monitor health and wellness of many family members in one convenient screenshot," Ceci Connelly, managing director of PwC's Health Research Institute, told CIO.
Wearables help physicians track patient health
In the PwC report, 25 percent of respondents indicated they would not be willing to share health data with friends and family. But 54 percent would entrust it with their physicians. That could be the biggest value of wearable technology – accurate, timely and consistent reporting of patients' data. As it stands, doctors and nurses find it difficult to know for sure if patients are taking their medication, following exercise and nutritional requirements, or reporting accurate vitals. Wearable techs could bypass those uncertainties and help physicians provide better care.
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