Connected Devices Help More Find a Healthier Norm

The proliferation of connected devices—accounting for $3.3 billion in 2013, and an expected $8 billion by 2018 in the U.S.—are revolutionizing how we approach health and well-being.

Patricia Mechael
Executive Vice President, Personal Connected Health Alliance
Connected Devices Help More Find a Healthier Norm

Personal connected health is a new paradigm for health promotion that equips individuals to achieve their health pursuits, integrating consumer behaviors and expectations into technologies that make staying or becoming healthy a part of everyday life. It is enabling a more targeted approach to helping people maintain a state of good health, as well as treatment and care for those who are sick.

How we track health

Personal health technologies—from teched-out clothing to smartphones, health apps, wearable sensors and remote monitoring devices—are already changing the way we think about our health and take action to treat or, better yet, avoid illness. Significant trends in technology accelerating this revolution include an increasing sophistication of mobile and wireless technology, enhanced IT infrastructure, human-centered design, big data, cognitive computing, decision support, interoperability and the Internet of Things.

The consumerization of health, increased interest in disease prevention and health promotion and precision medicine advances, such as DNA testing services, represent real-world opportunities for technology to transform health individually and collectively. Healthy lifestyle choices can delay or even prevent chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and even several types of cancer. Personal connected health tools can provide the education, feedback and motivation to support individuals in making good decisions and maintaining healthy behaviors over the long term.

“In one study, nearly half of the individuals diagnosed with high blood pressure who engaged with an interactive health platform lowered their blood pressure to non-hypertensive.”

Feeling the effects

The good news is that tracking step counts and calories as well as monitoring blood pressure or glucose levels is no longer the realm of fitness fanatics and “quantified selfers.” Consumers are more interested than ever in taking charge of their health and are responsible for a significant trend in the adoption of personal connected health devices—and improved well-being.

For example, according to the American Heart Association, 80 million Americans have high blood pressure, yet only about half have it under control. Numerous studies have shown that consumers using activity trackers or home monitoring devices can significantly reduce their blood pressure. In one study, nearly half of the individuals diagnosed with high blood pressure who engaged with an interactive health platform lowered their blood pressure to non-hypertensive.

Equipping future elders

But it’s not just technology companies and app developers who are taking notice. Consumer giants like Philips, as well as pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and even retail pharmacy chains such as Walgreens are getting in the game, creating consumer-centered programs to integrate health into our everyday lives and ultimately improve health and wellness.

Globally, with the number of seniors over age 60 anticipated to outnumber adolescents by 2050, personal connected health and the insights it provides will become even more important as a way to help young people stave off conditions associated with growing older and seniors to age independently.

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