Top 3 Digital Health Trends to Look for in 2014
Studies show that we as humans are routinely using technology to help us navigate this crazy thing called life. There’s an app for this and an app for that. Why should health be any different? Indeed, numbers from the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show reveal that health and wellness are becoming increasingly consumer-oriented “as a younger, more health-conscious population enters the market and the Baby Boomer generation looks for better ways of managing their health.” Read on to find out the top ways in which consumers are using technology to help monitor their health and fitness.
An Accenture survey of more than 6,000 people in six countries showed that 52 percent are interested in wearable technologies such as fitness monitors for tracking physical activity and managing their personal health. Wearable technologies — which include a FitBit or Sony SmartBand, for example — can deliver a wide range of capabilities including tracking heart rate, steps taken, and calories burned. A Consumer Electronics survey also found that 13 percent of U.S. adults are interested in purchasing such a device — up 10 percent from 2012 — and that 9 percent of consumers already own a wearable.
In this case, aging is trendy — at least according to electronics companies that are seeking to make gains in a market with Baby Boomers. In fact, AARP reports that 80 percent of its members own a computer, tablet, or e-reader; and that 36 percent of seniors over 50 call themselves “extremely or very comfortable” with technology. Since this age group is looking for a way to maintain independence while also receiving assistance, health care companies see potential in the market too. Look out for the unveiling of healthcare products that support increased social engagement, help to prevent injury, and in some cases, help assist with early detection.
The Brookings Institute once analyzed that remote monitoring technologies could save the U.S. healthcare system $197 billion between 2010 and 2035, a fact that electronics and technology companies are incorporating into their production of consumer products. Specifically, the combination of Internet, video, and wireless technology has allowed for an explosion of patient monitoring capabilities.
In 2012, the Department of Veterans Affairs provided nearly half a million veterans with care — remotely — from 150 VA medical centers and 750 outpatient clinics. Additionally, a staggering 150,000 veterans used virtual visit features with physicians, and remote monitoring allowed 42,000 patients to stay at home instead staying in hospitals. Another new development includes remote rehabilitation, or telehabilitation, which allows patients to freely control their physical therapy from home.