Wearable devices are a huge trend right now. It seems as though anywhere you go these days you spot those tell-tale bands encircling the rests of nearly everyone around you. From teens to the AARP set, fitness trackers are all the rage.
These handy dandy wearable pieces of technology can track the steps you take, monitor your heart rate, track your sleep, calculate your calories burned and remind you to get up and move throughout the day. They’re very affordable, synch with your smart phone, and the latest tool in improving the health and well-being of people world-wide.
Sure these wearable devices encourage individual accountability when it comes to personal health, and they are a wonderful way for people to be aware of their calorie burn, but are they really working to promote a healthier population? Are these wearable devices showing improvement and a reduction in costs to the health sector?
Wearable Devices and Healthcare
Obviously, anything that promotes wellness, and offers a means for individuals to be aware of their own health, is going to illicit a positive outcome. In that vein, wearable devices such as fitness trackers, are going to help lower healthcare costs in the long run. And the popularity of these wearable devices among the aging baby boomers is a boon to the healthcare community. Even as little as the American Heart Association’s recommended 10,000 steps per day helps combat chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and poor circulation, increasingly common among that generation.
Moreover, the fitness tracker craze has sparked a competitive climate, especially in some workplaces. Companies are now giving away, or offering at a deep discount, the fitness trackers to their employees in an effort to keep down healthcare costs and take advantage of incentives offered by some of the big insurance companies. In order to encourage company wide participation, many corporations have online challenges, leader boards and award prizes for the top “steppers” among participating employees.
The online communities created by the fitness tracker manufacturers also enlist participation in these types of challenges, or offer opportunities to create your own. The challenges provide a means to get up and get moving, which will have an interesting impact over the next few years. If those sporting the wearable devices keep to their program, we will most definitely see an impact in the reduction of healthcare costs.
Other Wearable Devices that Reduce Healthcare Costs
In addition to fitness trackers, other types of wearable devices are impacting the healthcare sector as well. Health monitoring has become a valued method of care for healthcare professionals. There are heart monitors which can immediately alert physicians using remote technology. Wearable devices which can record pulse, ECG, and O2 saturation, and report them to a physician also make it convenient for health providers to monitor patients.
Bluetooth scales that measure not only weight but body fat percentages can keep folks on track toward attaining their healthiest BMI. Though not exactly wearable, these devices can link to fitness trackers. Having the ability to see the data together can allow a more clear picture of your progress and show you the changes you may need to make. There are also blood pressure monitors which, though not worn continually, report the data to a mobile device so that physicians can have a record of the patient’s BP at different times throughout the day.
Wearable Devices to Monitor Stress
Never underestimate the role stress plays in an individual’s overall health. Everything from cancer to cardiac events, chronic conditions, ulcers, and mental health can be attributed, in some way, to stress. Knowing how, when and why stress is at it’s peak enables people to find a means to control their stress levels.
There’s a new group of wearable devices on the scene that promote emotional well-being. Some of these devices guide the wearer through meditation, while monitoring respiration and brain activity, then providing data and recommendations. Another type of device assesses how long it takes an individual to respond to and reduce stress levels. Both of these wearable devices can help lessen the effects of stress on the body.
Although some of these wearable devices, and the job they do, might sound a bit futuristic, their purpose is to put control back in the hands of the individual. Knowing your numbers and having the ability to track your health journey is a very good thing. Once the healthcare sector begins to see the impact of such monitoring it’s expected that these wearable devices will be even more advanced, and available to the masses.