Digital Salutem
21 July 2016

My experience with Wearables Technologies

By João Bocas

Wearable Technologies are now a common denominator when you are referring to innovations in healthcare, new technologies or digital health enhancements. Digital health is the industry that I love and operate in, to be frank and deeply honest, most of the time doesn’t feel like I am working.

Going back to Wearables Technologies, which I believe you are interested in reading more about. We all know that fitness trackers for example inundated our lives in the last 2 to 3 years , the major brands such as @Fitbit and @Misfit are now launching innovative developments of their second and third product versions.

The past 3 years , I’ve been heavily involved in digital health. It all started with a health tech start up that had an interest of connecting a multi chronic disease management platform with wearables. That experience has enable me to test and get familiarise with many wearables vendors and products. I always been a keen sports and fitness fanatic, therefore it was another perfect ” marriage ” of work and personal passion.

I started using a Misfit ( shine ) , it’s a great product with many great features , capabilities and interesting health and fitness data sets. The most important insight to me at this stage in my life was the sleep monitoring, which I kept an eye on for quite some time.

Having worked in eHealth for some time now and coming from a professional sport , personal fitness and corporate wellness background , I soon started to identify Wearables Technologies limitations and challenges.

wearable

My Wearable has run out of battery so many times and I always made an effort to keep it on my wrist and back working as soon as possible, even though many times I felt like taken it off and giving up. So the question is, what keeps me using it all this time ( over a year ) ? And I believe that I am a kind of sustainable long term user…

Here are my conclusions :

– I really have a fitness and personal health interest, so I feel that I ” should ” keep it on. Even if sometimes I am not monitoring anything anymore.

–  I may get a new goal soon. Future desire for more extensive behavioural change.

– The battery life is pretty good , it works very well for many weeks. And it’s not ugly and putting to much weight on my wrist.

– My active involvement in physical activity and proactive lifestyle goes hand in hand with a wearable and fitness tracker.

The average usage is just over 3 months with a steep dropout rate of 32% in US and 42% in UK ( source – Ipsos Healthcare survey ) . The question that springs to mind is : what are the main gaps and how to get the average human being to benefit more, using it for longer and get a personally relevant benefit.

For me, the reason that led me to write this article was the fact that my wearable run out of battery and this time I don’t feel like getting another battery , maybe is time for a new wearable.

The wearable manufactures and leading providers have face many challenges for some time. I would like to name a few :

– How to attract the less active part of the population

– How to make the health dat sets easier to understand and display it clearly

– How to be more meaningful and relevant to each individual

– How to keep users engaged and motivated by their product

– How to capture the mass market with one product only

There are dozens of more challenges that I can think off, however I would like to round up the article focusing on two things : personal motivation and product relevance.

The first one personal motivation leads me to ask you …. Why do you want a wearable ? Is it for fun, track a particular aspect of your health and/or a more serious need to get tackling a life threatening issue such as obesity or diabetes. The second is product relevance, wearables now offer very little signalling, reminding and engagement capabilities.

I’d like to leave you with a thought: wearables only make sense if we are engaged with them ? How can wearables become more and more personalised ?

More articles:

–  How Big Data is Growing in Health Care and Why it Matters

–  eHealth Week 2016

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