Every movement begins with a moment.
If you want to move more, sleep better, eat healthier and improve your overall health, you’ve probably got a gadget, app or service that measures these facets of your daily routine, tracks your progress and guides you toward the behavioral change needed for better health.
These self-monitoring wearables and devices were once reserved for the tech-savvy. Yet as new innovations evolve the form factors and lower the cost barrier, the market for health monitoring is expanding fast. In fact, the digital health movement is expected to grow 600 percent by 2019. When you combine this stat with the fact that health care costs continue to rise, it’s clearly a pivotal time for the $2.8-trillion health care industry.
So how can you get a piece of the wellness pie?
1. Become a Wellness Agent
Move beyond fitness gear and layer wellness into your products and services by building new technology or connecting to third-party wearables, apps and services. The evolution of form factors for wearable tech is expanding and opportunity abounds. Need some inspiration? At CES 2016, the top 10 health care wearables and devices ranged from smart thermometers, biometric clothing and vision performance tracking to hearing aid app companions and wearable tattoos.
2. Change the Point of Care
Making health care more accessible from the comfort of a known environment (e.g., a person’s home or office) is already gaining momentum with platforms like Telehealth. Changing the point of care from costly doctor offices and hospitals to a patient’s home could build a more sustainable health care system and provide more access to patients in remote locations — or in my case, bypass the dislike of going to the doctor’s office.
3. Incentivize Savings
Better health means your employees are less likely to be out sick from work, saving them precious vacation time and helping your keep momentum strong in the workplace. Providing health savings and employee discounts on insurance premiums for participating in wellness programs is a win-win for all.
4. Propel the Self-health Movement
The explosion of health data is already rolling in. More often than not, data gathered from wellness wearables and devices live in personal silos. Finding brilliant ways to use that data and connect with other systems is limitless. The next wave of tech already in the works will leverage the data analytics ability of IBM's Watson Health unit to predict health events hours in advance.
5. Expand the Market
Right now, wearables are targeted at people with active lifestyles — i.e., individuals who regularly engage in physical activity with the ultimate goal of healthier living. Yet another market is out there — and arguably more in need: the “unhealthy” or “semi-healthy.” While engaging these folks would likely require a different approach, reaching them could bring wearable tech to its full potential.
As you can see, there is a wealth of opportunity to tap in to the wellness movement by (1) improving the patient experience and (2) connecting the ever-growing ecosystem of health data. The health-monitoring ecosystem allows us to be proactive about preventative care and positive behavioral change — all with the aim of facilitating more productive and timely interactions with health care providers and minimizing avoidable and costly health emergencies. And for “less active/healthy” folks seeking a source of inspiration and motivation, wearable tech holds untapped potential.
Do you track your health, fitness or wellness? Why or why not? Please share in the comments below.
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