Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Some doctors DO want your Fitbit data
            One of the newest and most promising technologies to hit the market in the last 5 years is the wearable tech. Examples of these wearable devices is the Apple Watch and Fitbit Charge HR, both of which have the capability to sense certain metrics in and around your body such as heart rate, calories burned, sleep quality, steps taken, and altitude.
One thing some doctors are now trying to use the data from these devices to cater to what they call precision medicine: medicine that is “proactively monitoring the biomarkers and family histories of an individual to help spot trouble years – even decades – before it expresses itself as disease.” Precision medicine will result in substantially healthier populations because doctors will be able to see spikes in certain biomarkers that tells him/her that a patient needs to come in for a check-up, or even sending them an alert that they should see a doctor immediately.
Another important point from the article is the plethora of different biomarkers that doctors can monitor. Right now, wearables are very basic, only able to monitor major metrics like, heart rate and distance traveled. However, in the near future companies will start releasing wearables that feature sensors that can track your metabolism, blood sugar levels, alcohol consumption, etc.
Finally, because the Affordable Care Act is trying to change the costs of healthcare, which is based on number of visits, to one based on value and quality of care. Wearables can be used as a delivery vehicle for tracking the data, then doctors can use this data to analysis the cost of a visit. 
One issue I have with this article is that they seem to believe that all most healthcare professionals will be able to interpret Apple Watch or Fitbit data effectively. Additionally, as of now the wearables are still fairly expensive for the average American; plus, features like heart rate monitors will cost you more than $150, simply because it is an expensive feature. Finally, as an owner of a Fitbit, I have found that the accuracy and precision of these devices leave something to be desired because the device needs to be in direct contact with the body at all times.

1 comment:

  1. I think one overlooked major issue that can arise from this is people intentionally falsifying their data from these devices. As of now, these devices and their software seems to be geared toward personal use. "Cheating" one of these devices seems like it would not be too difficult which can present a problem, especially with what you mentioned about the Affordable Care Act. If people are going to be able to electronically just send data instead of visiting the doctor physically, they may send in information which is not true. This could possibly occur because a patient wants to seem healthier in order to get cheaper insurance rates. As of now, I do not think the technology is quite ready yet, and many issues need to be sorted out if this is going to become a mainstream form of healthcare.


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