Changes to Wearable Health Devices for Better Patient Engagement

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A great wealth of information could be gathered from wearable health devices from a doctor or physician if the user appropriator uses the product. The difficulty lies in how long the user maintains the actual wearing of the health device.


Wearable devices such as fitness trackers are becoming increasingly popular. However, one-third of users often give up on them within the first six months. These devices could greatly improve patient health and the doctor/patient relationship, but only if used to their full potential.

According to a new study by Endeavour Partners, half of the people who own activity trackers, such as Fitbit bracelets that monitor heartbeat and steps taken, don’t use them. One in ten U.S. consumers over the age of 18 now owns an activity tracker and yet they’re not being used.

According to the authors of the study, the problem is that these devices aren’t designed to encourage long-term utilization. Products and services that fail to have an impact on a user’s daily routine end up disappearing from the market. Users will abandon wearable devices that don’t help them achieve positive results.

Many wearable devices on the market lack three factors that could increase long-term use:

  • Habit formation: Engage the users through alerts, rewards, and suggestions, thereby helping the user make the wearable device part of their daily habits.
  • Social motivation: Connect data and activities to social media in order to build a community of motivation and competition for the wearer.
  • Goal reinforcement: By creating and reaching small goals every day, the user feels a sense of accomplishment and progress, keeping them interested in the device.

The less behavior change a device requires in order to use it, the more likely it is that the consumer will remain engaged for the long term. Devices that have to be removed or synced often are more likely to be forgotten.

According to a recent Nielsen report, half of consumers surveyed say they want to purchase a wearable device in the future. Experts predict that more than 17 million wearable devices will be sold in 2014, and that number could reach 45 million by 2017. If this trend is to continue, these devices need to engage the consumer and adapt for long-term use. Only then could these wearable devices have a lasting impact on patient health.

Author: Lauren Daniels

5 thoughts on “Changes to Wearable Health Devices for Better Patient Engagement

  1. If the wearable device trend is to survive, developers will need to figure out what will keep consumers interested and willing to continue using the product. The fitness functions are a great way for the public to monitor their own basic health.

  2. These devices are a good idea for anyone and not just the health conscious. Information is knowledge and knowledge is power. This type if information can help to form habits in health that can one day save your life. Walking a few extra steps per day, cutting back on in-between meal snacks, etc. All of these behavioral changes can make a person feel better and improve their health and even self esteem.

  3. The trend will be towards multi-functional devices (i.e. a phone that can track your steps or a watch that can track your amount of sun exposure in a given day). We have already seen this trend explode with the smart phone revolution and this is the next logical step in the progression. Imagine being able to make a call from your watch, while checking your email, and knowing your total calories burned in a given day. Very Sci-Fi…..

  4. These are GREAT…As long as people can post there results for encouragement and recognition on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. It will help keep these things popular. It’s a good start! The idea that people can track this information is going to keep them interested, and hopefully in the long run, yield good results.

    1. Health and technology meet to improve your overall health. I own a heart rate monitor that interfaces with my IPad. This has allowed me to chart my workout and it enables me to get better results.

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