“Every breath you take, every move you make, every step you take, I’ll be watching you.” Sound familiar? You may recognize the lyrics performed by the 80’s British rock band, The Police. But as the availability and benefits of wearable technology in healthcare climbs, those well-known lyrics seem particularly relevant.
Dr. Thomas M. Krummel, co-director of the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign, writes that “... the general principle of ubiquitous wearable computers bodes well for our future ability to measure, track, and understand patient physiological data and behavior both in the hospital and at home. The ability to capture that data, apply machine learning to evolving trends, and alert patients, nurses, and physicians instantaneously is powerful.”
Wearable Technology Goes Mainstream
Wearable technology isn’t new. After all, glasses are, in their own way, wearable technology in healthcare, and they were invented back in 1286. But if you’re talking about biometric trackers (and we are), you have to leap forward 720 years to 2006, when Nike and Apple collaborated on the Nike+ fitness tracking kit that used a tracker embedded in a shoe to display time, distance, pace and calories burned during a workout on an iPod Nano screen.
Fast forward to 2019, and wearable technology in healthcare has become both more powerful and more economical. According to a report from GlobalData, the wearable technology market share grew to $23 billion in 2018 and should hit $54 billion by 2023. Regarding these findings, Roxanne Balfe, MSc, digital healthcare analyst at GlobalData, said, “Within five to ten years, it is expected that these devices in healthcare will become more disease-specific with therapeutic and diagnostic capabilities that will ultimately lower costs and increase efficiencies, moving towards a preventative model of healthcare.”
The widespread availability and benefits of wearable technology in healthcare opens doors of opportunity for healthcare providers and consumers alike.
- Healthcare providers can use out-of-office patient monitoring to spot signs of a decline in health or the potential for an adverse health event.
- Both providers and patients can benefit from using wearables to indicate the need for health interventions earlier, which can reduce costs and improve health outcomes.
- Healthcare consumers can use wearables to track and meet fitness goals for additional wellness benefits.
Take the treatment of diabetes. The benefits of wearable technology in healthcare like insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) provide valuable round-the-clock data that healthcare providers can use to fine-tune care plans. Then patients can also use smart watches or trackers to log activities, monitor pulse rates, track sleep habits and receive medication reminders to improve adherence with their chronic disease management plan.
Psychographic Segmentation Identifies Likely Users of Wearable Tech
How do you know which patients are ready — and willing — to use wearable healthcare technology? Nearly 57 million Americans used wearable technology at least once a month in 2019. Tech-loving Millennials represent the largest group of wearable users at 38 percent, but older Americans have displayed growing interest.
In the past four years, the percent of wearable technology users that are ages 55 to 64 have more than doubled from 6.5 percent to 13.2 percent. Still, the overall number represents only one-in-four people in America, so healthcare providers need to better understand who the most likely users are — and age won’t tell the whole story.
Psychographic segmentation can provide insights into which healthcare consumers are more likely to use wearable technology and be willing to share the data with physicians, hospitals or health insurers. For example, the PatientBond 2018 Consumer Diagnostic Study reveals:
- Self Achievers are statistically more likely than any other segment to Agree or Strongly Agree that they are willing to share personal information from smartphones or wearables with a personal physician (73 percent), hospital (59 percent).
- Enthusiasm for sharing wearable data with health insurance providers is lower overall among all segments — both on Agree and Disagree sides.
Psychographic segmentation also enables healthcare organizations to understand how consumers approach health and wellness — what motivates them, how they want to communicate with providers.
By modifying messages to speak to these unique differences — goal setting for Self Achievers versus care options for Balance Seekers — physicians and hospitals strengthen the value of patient communications.
When combined with an automated patient engagement platform, healthcare providers can push highly-relevant messages out to likely wearable technology users via interactive phone calls, emails or text messages to drive engagement and encourage sharing of data — and ultimately achieve the benefits of lower costs and better health outcomes that patients and providers are looking for.
For more on psychographic segmentation and how the PatientBond platform can help your hospital, urgent care center or private practice increase its market share, download our whitepaper.