Health IT Pulse

Jan 9 2014   11:55AM GMT

Younger people report enthusiasm for patient self-monitoring devices

Alex Delvecchio Alex Delvecchio Profile: Alex Delvecchio

Tags:
mHealth
quantified self
smartwatches
Wearable devices

Digital patient self-monitoring in healthcare will continue to rise if developers respond to current demand, particularly from younger patients. More than half of consumers (52%) are interested in buying wearable devices that measure their health or activity levels, as reported in the Accenture Digital Consumer Tech Survey 2014. Of survey respondents aged 18 to 34, 67% indicated they would be interested using fitness monitors and 65% said the same for health monitors. Those numbers fell to 24% and 32% for respondents aged 55 and older. More than 6,000 people from six countries responded to the Accenture survey.

Nearly half (46%) of those surveyed also would consider purchasing smartwatches, devices that have potential in the healthcare field. Nissan released a smartwatch that monitors the functions of both cars and drivers. The watch is equipped with a heart rate monitor and is able to capture biometric data. A device like this could be part of the future of patient self-monitoring. It could benefit both healthy and ill people by measuring exercise levels or recording and sending vital health information to providers.

People interested in monitoring their own health, a concept known as the quantified self movement, are doing so for their own benefit and without much input from providers. Though there may be valuable data recorded by patient-purchased monitoring devices and applications, physicians and healthcare professionals are unlikely to analyze its worth without knowing they’ll be reimbursed for their efforts. Providers will also need help from IT systems in analyzing self-monitored data before it becomes part of patient records.

For less-technologically advanced patients, especially those with chronic illnesses, home computers can play a role in their care. Nearly half of Americans are living with chronic conditions, many of whom are living longer because of medical advancements. This information, combined with the fact that remote monitoring devices can already perform some of the duties formerly tasked to visiting nurses, may lead chronically-ill patients to be more involved in their care. Different forms of technology such as setting medication alerts on your computer, chatting in online patient groups and social media outlets are all ways to accomplish this.

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