Will wearable health technology stay or fizzle out?

By TNT Bureau

Dec 28, 2016:  Wearable technology is one of the most talked about topics among healthcare professionals as well as the health conscious people. Although healthcare technology helps to enhance health while reducing medical costs, the industry is divided.While one school of thought believes that the potential market for wearable health technology will increase in the coming years, the other school of thought feels that due to several challenges, healthcare technology will take a backseat in the near future.

However, despite the excitement level for wearable health technology has existed since a long time, healthcare wearables have not been able to become a part of the mainstream healthcare settings till now. So, the big question is, will wearable health technology stay or fizzle out?

Since 2000, medical device providers and researchers had been studying the potential prospective for devices that could monitor health remotely.As a result, soon health case devices started hitting the market, and very fast it became a craze, particularly among the young people.

Wearable health technology: A potential market

Since early 2010, demand for health wearables and health apps to digitally track health started showing immense potential. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2013, 21% adults used one or the other form of wearable health technology.

In 2014,a survey conducted among 1000 consumers revealed that 77% were willing to use wearable technology for workout. About75% said they would use it to track medical information, and 67% would use it to diet. Relatively, 46% said they would use it to search retail deals, 26% to access social media, 29% to access entertainment and 32% to control home appliances.The survey also revealed that consumers were also willing to use their smartphones to track health information and communicate with health providers.

Market witnesses drop

According to industry experts, the potential market for wearable devices will soon see a significant growth; however some others differ on this point.

In 2015, Fitbit, the wireless device developer, had a market share of over $10 billion. However, the figure slashed to $3.7 billion earlier in 2016. Another wireless device developer, Jawbone also witnessed adrop from $3 billion in 2014 to $1.5 billion in 2016.

Nonetheless, the wearable device market is still increasing. The global wearable market increased by 171.6% in 2015, according to market research firm IDC.

Barriers to adoption

The use of wearable health technology is not so widespread even after several years of excitement and hype. There are a number of barriers to adoption.

The main barrier to consumer adoption is highcost. In a 2016 survey, most people said that they wouldn’t buy health wearable due to its expensive cost.

The other barrier is privacy concern. This is preventingthe consumers from using wearable devices in a comfortable manner. Even thougha lot of people seemto beexcited by the likelihood of using wearables, only 34% of them said they would have faithin a health insurance company with this information, 38% would trust a hospital, and 41% would trust a doctor’s office.

Other barriers to extensive adoption of heath wearable include the capability to secure health information collected by wearables and grievances over the common user experience. If these challenges are ovecome, the prospectivemarketfor wearable health technology will see a boom.

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