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Benefits and Dangers of Mixing Wearable Tech and Healthcare
Posted on November 3rd, 2017 by Tim Hoctor in Pharma R&D
Ideally, healthy living should be something that transcends income, but the reality is that it can be expensive to live a healthy lifestyle. High calorie foods are often cheaper than nutritious options, and poorer neighborhoods are often known as “food deserts” where it is hard to find good produce. Gym memberships aren’t cheap, and oftentimes neither is preventive healthcare. Now, as health-focused wearable technology becomes more advanced and popular, many people worry that this trend could result in an even greater class divide in our healthcare.
At face, the ability of fitness wearables to collect data on people’s vitals seems like a completely positive development that improves self-knowledge and can be used as a way to encourage healthy behaviors. For instance, people who attain a certain number of “steps” or attend exercise classes could get discounts on health insurance premiums. But would this then penalize those who can’t afford pricey wearable gadgets like the Apple Watch? Furthermore, how quickly could we find ourselves in “Big Brother” territory, where we worry that an occasional dessert indulgence could be “reported” to our healthcare providers and used against us?
Before we get too worried, though, we should bear in mind that collecting data is only part of the equation. Wearable technology is great at amassing interesting information, but not at interpreting it. Translating the data into useful medical advice actually requires the input of experts and the use of sophisticated analytical tools.
Check out this Alphr article to learn more about the possibilities, dangers and challenges of using wearable tech in conjunction with healthcare.
All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.
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