From Apple Watches to Fitbits, wearable technology is very popular right now. These devices can collect data on the user’s steps, activity level, sleep, caloric burn and more. They can also track the user’s heart rate and determine their resting and peak rates. But can the information the trackers collect actually keep the wearer’s heart healthy?
An Overview of Wearable Tech
Nearly one-fourth of Americans used wearable tech in 2018, and that number is projected to grow in the coming years. Taking advantage of the popularity of wearable technology can be a great way for healthcare providers to better serve their patients. People who use wearable tech have the ability to monitor their data on a consistent basis. Healthcare providers can use this information to understand their patients’ day-to-day cardiovascular health and provide better care.
The Apple Watch is making headlines in the medical space, as they received the first FDA approval for a built-in ECG in September. Apple just announced a partnership with Johnson & Johnson to launch a study monitoring adults over the age of 65 for atrial fibrillation (Afib), one of the leading causes of stroke. If a participant’s watch detects signs of Afib, the user will be prompted to visit a healthcare provider for testing and an official diagnosis. Early detection of Afib can help doctors save lives.
Wearable tech can help users spot less life-threatening conditions, as well. A few years ago, a woman’s Fitbit recorded her resting heart rate at up to 110 beats per minute, which was inconsistent with her lifestyle and much higher than it should have been. She went to the doctor to discover what was wrong only to find out that she was pregnant. Neither the woman nor her husband knew that increased heart rate was an indicator of pregnancy.
While mainstream consumer devices like Fitbits and Apple Watches track and collect cardiovascular data, Verily has recently announced a prescription-only study watch. This watch is specifically designed to monitor and store ECG rhythms. Recently approved by the FDA, the data from these studies will inform research on heart disease, by providing more consistent insight into biometric data, and it will help researchers understand how mobile health data can be used in the healthcare environment.
Using Wearable Tech to Combat Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is still on the rise in the United States, as the American Heart Association predicts that nearly half of the American population will have some form of CVD by 2030. And PatientBond’s market research study found that 11 percent of the general population has had, or currently experiences, high blood pressure. To combat this, the AHA hopes to decrease CVD by 20% by 2020, but the AHA cannot do this on its own. Patients must be onboard and committed to following AHA-recommended healthy behaviors.
That’s why the AHA has collaborated with PatientBond to create the highly effective Health Motivation Platform. Using PatientBond’s psychographic segmentation communication model, the platform reaches each patient in the best way for their motivations and communication preferences. To best communicate with patients who prefer to use technology, the Heart Health Platform can be used in conjunction with these wearable tech options to help improve cardiovascular health.
Psychographic Segmentation + Wearable Tech = Heart Health
For patients who have an Apple Watch, a Fitbit or another wearable health tracker, there are a few things to monitor. It might be time for them to visit a doctor if:
• They notice an unexplainable increase in heart rate.
• Their resting heart rate increases and stays elevated.
• Their Apple Watch notifies them of irregular rhythm.
Psychographic segmentation can help healthcare providers determine which patients would benefit from using these devices. For people who are willing to monitor their numbers and take action when things don’t look right, this technology can be a great tool to pair with a platform like the AHA’s and PatientBond’s Health Motivation Platform. By providing a way to notify wearers and healthcare providers of early signs of cardiovascular disease, wearable tech can help monitor and then improve behaviors that keep hearts healthy.