Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Why Your Health Insurance Provider May Offer You a Fitness Wearable

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 If your health insurance provider gave you a fitness tracking device, otherwise known as a “wearable,” would you strap it on knowing your provider collects your fitness data? What if you received an additional incentive for allowing your health, weight, and exercise to be monitored -- would that influence your decision? These are questions you may encounter soon, as providers realize the data collection opportunities that wearables present.

Healthcare Industry May Boost Wearable Adoption

While the use of health and fitness tracking devices has more than doubled in the last two years, according to a nationwide survey conducted by TechnologyAdvice Research, only 25.1 percent of adults actually track their weight, diet, or exercise using a digital fitness tracker or smartphone-based app. Although this is a low number, it highlights the potential the healthcare industry has to boost wearable adoption.

“Healthcare providers and health insurance companies are two of the largest stakeholders in the promotion of fitness tracking devices, and they have an opportunity to greatly influence their use,” said the report’s author, TechnologyAdvice Content Manager Cameron Graham. The study showed that nearly half of those not using wearable health trackers would be more likely to use one if it was provided free by their physician or health insurance company.

Few Barriers

This survey also revealed that there are few real barriers to using health wearables, as almost half of respondents (43.7 percent) did not have a specific reason for not tracking their fitness. “These results suggest that if healthcare providers worked in tandem with health insurance companies, both stakeholders could benefit from the collected population health data. Adoption rates of health wearables could increase if their use was incentivized by the healthcare community,” Graham said.

Incentives for Using Health Wearables

Offering free wearables may not be the only incentive that health insurance companies can use to encourage fitness tracking adoption. According to TechnologyAdvice’s study, 57.1 percent of adults who currently don’t use health wearables said that the possibility of lower health insurance premiums would make them more likely to use such devices. This is an 11 percent jump from respondents who stated that they would use a fitness tracker if it was given to them for free. This increase shows that individuals are more willing to use fitness trackers when presented with monetary incentives from the same company.

As wearables use continues to increase, there are opportunities for health insurance providers and their clients to collaborate in order for both parties to realize the benefits of wearable technology. Such behavior and incentives may help exponentially grow the wearable device market in the near future, especially if they can be incorporated into medical software.

What do you think? If you were given incentives by your health insurance provider -- would you wear a fitness tracker?

About the Author: Jenna Elkins is a media relations coordinator at TechnologyAdvice. She covers marketing automation, gamification, project management, and other emerging technology. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
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