Wearable Fitness Technology for your Employees
From FitBits to the Apple Watch, wearable fitness technology has weaved itself into society and the future of wearable devices shows no sign of slowing down. The increasing demand of consumers to monitor their own health means that the use of wearable technology has more than tripled in the last four years. According to research from Business Insider Intelligence, more than 80% of consumers are now willing to wear fitness technology.
This growing demand for wearables has generated a booming market, and now insurers and companies are seeing how supplying wearable health technology to their consumers and employees is beneficial. Wearable technology, designed to collect the data of users’ personal health and exercise means that the US consumer use of wearables has jumped from 9% in 2014 to 33% in 2018, according to Accenture.
A PwC survey in 2017 on workplace wearables found that 65% think that technology has a real role to play in their health and wellbeing, with such devices capturing and recording activity levels and providing feedback on exercise and diet. The PwC report found that 61% of employees were “keen for their employer to take an active role in their health and wellbeing”. Such corporate wellbeing schemes can be a useful tool for employers, while providing a benefit for the employee to help employers look after those at risk of “burn out” or lacking in “rest breaks”.
Smart Health Watches
In 2017, Apple launched the Apple Heart Study app in 2017 to monitor users’ heart rhythms and alert those who are experiencing atrial fibrillation. The company also recently released the “Movement Disorder API” to help researchers gather new insights into Parkinson’s disease.
Smartwatches allow users to perform tasks they normally do on their phones — read notifications, send simple messages, make phone calls — while also offering some of the exercise- and health-tracking benefits of fitness trackers.
Wearable ECG Monitors
Wearable ECG monitors are on the cutting edge of consumer electronics, and what sets these monitors apart from some smartwatches, is their ability to measure electrocardiograms, or ECGs.
The Move ECG is able to measure an electrocardiogram and send the reading to the user’s doctor, as well as detect atrial fibrillation. It’s also able to track pace, distance, and elevation, as well as automatic tracking for walking, running, swimming, and biking.
Wearable Blood Pressure Monitors
In 2019, Omron Healthcare launched HeartGuide which is the first wearable blood pressure monitor. Though it might look like a typical smartwatch, HeartGuide is an oscillometric blood pressure monitor that can measure blood pressure and daily activity – like steps taken, distance travelled, and calories burned.
HeartGuide can hold up to 100 readings in memory and all readings can be transferred to a corresponding mobile app, HeartAdvisor, for review, comparison, and treatment optimisation. HeartAdvisor users have the ability to store, track, and share their data with their physician while also gaining insights to determine how personal habits affect their blood pressure.
The Future of Medical Devices
The wearable healthcare technology market is surging and, in the US, alone, the total installed base of fitness tracker and health-based wearables in the US will grow at an annualized rate of 10% to surpass 120 million by 2023. Companies are also seeing benefits in offering wearable healthcare technology to employees. According to Business Insider Intelligence research, healthier corporate culture is shown to reduce employee turnover – employers who offer five or more wellbeing ‘best practices’ had an average turnover of 18%, compared to 29% for those that offer two or fewer.
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