The Rise of Wearables and On-Demand Care

This article is based in part on the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® Digital America 2019.

Overview As technology advances, wearables are now more than a wristwatch heart rate monitor and are finding their way into more households. Health care has moved quickly into being in the hands of the consumer.

Consumer technology wearables have become a fixture in American lifestyles and outfit ensembles. The rise of interest in smartwatches and the adoption of connected fitness equipment has helped grow the wearable market.

According to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® Digital America, industry experts expect wearables, such as smartwatches, to keep getting smarter and incorporate more health-monitoring capabilities, making them more enticing for daily use.

Many of these wearables are enabling a new way of health care and allowing consumers to take more control of their health.

 

Wearing Health Care

The latest generation of fitness tech products include new features, such as more on-demand and in-depth data, to stand out from the early-stage wrist-worn bands that track wearer’s steps.

Startup WHOOP, for example, offers an advanced strap with five attached sensors that collect data from the user’s body, including heart rate, calories burned, sleep quality, skin conductivity and ambient temperatures, 100 times per second. The corresponding app is then able to analyze the data to tell the user how much strain is on their bodies and the time needed to recover.

WHOOP’s straps have won approval for use from both Major League Baseball and the National Football League Players Association.

Wearables are also increasingly moving away from purely fitness-only capabilities to focus on medical needs and advanced health needs, with some wearables addressing insomnia and sleep monitoring.

AURA Devices, for example, focuses on data such as fat, muscle mass, mineral levels and hydration levels, on top of heart rate and activity measurements. An artificial intelligence (AI) engine analyzes the data to share insights with both users and their care providers.

 

Doctors from Afar

Significantly, the growth of wearables and similar health-tracking technology has led to an increase in remote patient-health monitoring. CTA found that 68% of surveyed physicians strongly intend to use remote patient-monitoring technology, such as blood pressure monitors.

More than half of consumers also said they would use a connected health device as part of their treatment if their doctors recommended it.

Startup Orbita provides conversational AI technologies to health care organizations to enable secure voice- and chatbot-powered virtual assistants for people struggling with health problems in their homes. AI is one of the technologies that has allowed consumers to receive accurate and timely health care recommendations even when they are not able to physically see a doctor.

Connected health devices, most notably smartwatches, are now part of many households. Shifting consumer tastes and preferences toward health-conscious lifestyles are helping the market and may soon lead to new developments in health-tracking clothes, glasses, headbands, bandages and more.


Learn more about trends in other technologies in Digital America.

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Digital America

Explore market trends across nine industry categories, and learn about the areas Consumer Ttechnology Association (CTA)® research analysts identified for growth.

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