Best Practices for Incorporating Wearable Health Tech

Wearable health tech is exploding. According to research statistics portal Statista, the value of the global wearables market, which was valued at a mere $6 million in 2010, is expected to grow to more than $12 billion next year.

But if you build it, will they come? No, says this report from the PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute. By analyzing the early days of wearable health tech (2014), PwC identified what any wearable must do to be successful in a healthcare setting.

Interoperable: To derive actionable results from wearable health tech, interoperability is key. That means the device, app, provider EHR, payer systems and pharmacy systems all work together seamlessly and in a secure and private manner. PwC suggests partnerships between healthcare organizations and wearable developers to “help sharpen business models, build credibility and ensure data match system needs.”

Integrated: Providers should be able to integrate the use of devices into the episode of care in a simple, intuitive way.

Engaging: Patients must be motivated to stick with the device, possibly incentivized by payers or employers. “Wearables, apps and their associated platforms must be flexible enough to engage users as varied as an elderly grandmother and her teenaged grandson,” the report said.

Shareable: Being able to share the data with others can be part of an engagement strategy with users. “Giving consumers control over what they share and with whom, with a lot of choices, will build engagement,” the report said. Data also must be shareable with healthcare providers and payers, based on user preferences.

Outcomes-driven: Don’t do it to just do it. Tie the use of the devices to specific goals and outcomes related to the patient’s health over the long-term.

The report also emphasized the importance of privacy, recommending that privacy policies are crystal clear. “Physicians already have the trust of consumers, and healthcare organizations have expertise in protecting personal health information,” PwC said. “Those standards should be applied to health wearables data, especially as they become integrated into electronic medical records.”


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