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Trust in wearables grows at a rapid rate, but are doctors ready?

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Article

91% of patients express willingness to share data with doctors

Patients are growing more trusting of wearable medical devices: ©Halfpoint - stock.adobe.com

Patients are growing more trusting of wearable medical devices: ©Halfpoint - stock.adobe.com

The wearables market has witnessed significant growth in recent years, driven by innovations from brands like FitBit and Apple. These devices, designed to track health data, have gained popularity among consumers. A survey conducted by Software Advice, which included responses from over 850 patients, reveals a steady increase in patient engagement and health care collaboration through the use of these and other wearable devices.

Health care providers now face both an opportunity and a challenge as trust in wearables for medical purposes continues to surge. The survey found that 87% of patients are more likely to choose a doctor who incorporates wearable data into their health care plans. Furthermore, 91% of respondents expressed interest in sharing their wearable health data with their health care providers, marking a substantial increase from the 56% reported in 2021.

Patients are keen to utilize wearables for various reasons, including improving health outcomes, achieving fitness goals, and managing chronic illnesses, according to the report. A significant 78% of patients are also eager to receive doctor-prescribed activities specifically tailored to their wearable devices. The survey highlights that the majority (76%) of patients are most comfortable sharing their wearable data during in-person medical examinations.

Lisa Morris, associate principal medical analyst for software advice, stated: "As the wearables market continues to diversify, we're seeing new and improved technologies like biosensors, patches, and rings that can prevent, monitor, and help treat chronic conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Nevertheless, with such advancements comes the imperative need to prioritize data security."

For consumers, privacy remains a significant concern. While only 9% of patients in the survey expressed disinterest in sharing wearable data with doctors, their reasons for reluctance must be noted. Among this group, 41% are concerned about data security breaches, and 37% worry that inaccurate data could lead to negative health outcomes.

"Practices that embrace wearable technology early and provide privacy safeguards for patients could result in improved health outcomes for patients and increase their bottom line," said Morris.

The full report and analysis are available here.

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