Wearable technology has become more mainstream in recent years with devices like the Apple Watch and Fitbit gaining popularity among health-conscious consumers. The demand for wearable technology grows as people are becoming increasingly invested in their own health, and these devices have found their place within the healthcare sector as a tool for educating and empowering people to make wellness a priority.
Wearable technology (“wearables”) refers to electronic devices that are designed as accessories to be worn on the body. Some of the most popular types of wearables are fitness and activity trackers, such as the Fitbit, that monitor users’ physical activity level by tracking their steps, walking distance, and heart rate. The capabilities of wearable technology go beyond just step counting; these powerful devices have great potential within the healthcare industry.
Primarily, wearable technology incentivizes healthy habits in patients that reduce hospital visits and readmissions and lead to better health outcomes. According to a study from the Journal of Medical Internet Research observing the effects of wearables on patient behavior, wellness group participants who wore an activity tracker saw clinical improvements such as weight loss and lower cholesterol and reported positive changes in their attitude toward physical activity. The study demonstrates the benefits of wearable technology as an educational and motivational tool. Users receive immediate feedback on their physical activity which helps them understand their baseline activity level and identify areas for improvement. Wearable devices motivate users by providing a visual reminder of the user’s progress. The rewarding feeling of reaching a daily activity goal improves the wearer’s attitude toward physical activity and is a strong motivator in maintaining an active lifestyle. By positively reinforcing healthy behavior in users, wearable technology has the ability to influence population health by promoting lifestyle changes that reduce the risk of chronic conditions.