Wearables and mobile health app usage has surged by 50% since 2014

Have you noticed that more runners out on the street have some kind of fitness tracker, like Fitbits, on their wrists? Or that they're checking their phones more often while out for a jog? Turns out there's a good reason for that. A new survey from Accenture reveals that the number of consumers who use wearable devices or mobile apps for monitoring their health has doubled in the last two years. According to the survey of more than 8,000 consumers in seven countries, 33% of respondents said they use mobile health apps, compared to 16% in a similar survey in 2014. And 21% of respondents said they use wearables, compared to just 9% in a similar survey in 2014. Furthermore, 77% of respondents said that using wearables makes them feel more engaged with their health. On top of that, 90% of respondents said they would be open to sharing data from their devices and apps with healthcare providers, but just 63% said they would do so with their insurance companies. The survey showed that consumers most often use wearables and mobile apps to track their fitness, diet, and nutrition, but the data also showed that these devices and apps could have broader uses. For example, 29% of those who answered said they prefer virtual doctor appointments to face-to-face ones, which could be a new avenue for wearables and mobile health apps. The Accenture survey shows that the health sector is the most promising area for wearables adoption. Several emerging consumer and professional healthcare trends, which dovetail with advances in health technology over the past five years, are driving interest in wearables. And where wearables are most commonly used for fitness-tracking purposes at the moment, they show great potential for widespread adoption in the healthcare sector. Will McKitterick, senior research analyst at BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has compiled a detailed report entitled The Wearables in the Healthcare Sector Report that examines the use cases for wearables in health, ranging from consumers collecting fitness data to healthcare providers and insurers using wearables to improve health outcomes. The report also explores barriers to widespread adoption of wearables in healthcare and how tech giants, including Apple, Google, and Samsung, are developing devices and platforms that will help bridge the gap between fitness tracking and actual medical care. Here are some key points from the report: While adoption levels are growing, the wearables market is still in the early phases of expansion. We estimate global shipments will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.8% over the five years, reaching 162.9 million units in 2020. Emerging consumer and professional healthcare trends are driving interest in wearables. For consumers, interest in quantifying personal health metrics is translating into demand for fitness tracking devices and smartwatches. Meanwhile, businesses in a variety of industries have been quick to sense the opportunities for harnessing health data from employees, consumer, and patients to help drive efficiencies and enhance services related to healthcare. Barriers remain blocking the widespread adoption of wearables in the healthcare sector. Device accuracy and regulation are two major sticking points for device makers and technologists to address. Concerns surrounding privacy and a lack of utility must also be addressed. Consumer-facing products will eventually be used for more advanced medical care. Tech giants, including Apple, Google, and Samsung, are investing significant resources into developing devices that will help bridge the gap between fitness tracking and actual medical care. Future products will serve both consumer and professional markets.
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