Slide 13 is awesome (“The Truth About Wearables”) – it shows the decay over time of users using activity trackers in a more scientific than anecdotal way. Complete with cute comment – “We sincerely appreciate and respect the previous survey work, however we would be surprised if the survey could be replicated.” In other words, disputing the data that at 6 months people are still engaged in activity tracking.
Thanks to Brian Gardner (@bg_gardner) the Executive Director of our Mobile Center of Excellence for passing on this helpful report from our friends Rock Health (@Rock_Health). To know technology is to know its limitations. Rock Health knows technology 🙂 .
This is not a post that’s pessimistic about the future of wearables though (Glass, and not the Google kind, 3/4 full, always). There’s going to be a time and place for sure. Right now it seems we are in the “we can collect it, so we are going to, whether it makes a difference in health” stage. That’s okay.
There’s one metric, Heart Rate Variability (HRV) that’s listed just once on slide 6 in the long tail. This measure is an example (to me) of something that couldn’t previously be measured efficiently in health care, and so therefore does not have a place in clinical care. After my last HealthFOO I did a literature review on the possibilities…and there are possibilities. So, just because something can be measured doesn’t mean it should and just because something couldn’t be measured before doesn’t mean it shouldn’t now. The perfect example of this is… Exercise as Vital Sign (EVS) – currently not obtained via biosensing but a measure that makes a difference in health.
Thanks for keeping an eye and a few extra senses on things, Rock Health. I need to give credit also to the students of George Washington University’s Mobile Healthcare: Innovations in Telemedicine class. They’re the ones, through their on-campus component hosted at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health, that brought this knowledge from our Kaiser Permanente experts to us. Best way to learn is to teach!
Oh, and PS, I’m also not down on people who use activity trackers. I’m one of the 25% that keeps hanging on… let us walk.