When it comes to monitoring your own health, wearable technology has taken over as the most viable and sophisticated option.
By Allan Richter | Edited by Brian Levine
With the ability to track and monitor our own health at so many levels – calorie intake, heart-rate, dehydration, inactivity, sleep, UV light – you would think it won’t be long before we no longer rely on doctors. Despite the array of wearable technology that streamline health tracking, however, there will always be the need for visiting your primary care physician.
To put it plainly, no matter how much data we have, our devices are not well-equipped to make an accurate diagnosis.
Don’t forget to review with your doctor
Pew Research reported in 2013 that 59% of Americans have checked online for health information in the past year, with 35% saying they have used the Internet to self-diagnose.
Some 41% of those who made a self-diagnosis were accurate, as confirmed by physicians – but that still leaves 6 in 10 Americans who incorrectly diagnose themselves. Nonetheless, consumers will (and should) continue to monitor their own health and fitness. But it’s important that you review the data with your primary care physician or medical professional so that an appropriate diagnosis can be identified.
Though the ability of consumers to monitor and diagnose themselves won’t eliminate the need for healthcare providers, the growing self-monitoring health trend, coupled with wearable technology, may change the overall healthcare model.
As Wes Henderek, director of the connected intelligence sector at NPD Group, a New York research firm states: “You’re going to see a shift where people aren’t going to go to doctors for regular checkups. It’s going to be more of an in-home consultation in which people collect their health data that’s fed real-time to their doctor, and they do a consultation via video chat.” The direction we are heading in is a world where consumers will have a “virtual doctor” of sorts, thus expanding their choices for medical care exponentially.
Making a statement
While the inherent data of fitness trackers and wearable technology is objectively valuable if used correctly, they do add another compelling layer into the mix: Fashion. Fitness trackers are becoming sleeker and more fashionable. As more health monitoring device manufacturers strike partnerships with jewelry and fashion companies, the lines between health, technology and fashion are becoming blurred in an exciting way.
It will be interesting to see how wearable technology will evolve in the future.