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Doctors Now Using Fitbit and Other Wearable Technology to Engage More with Patients

Wearable Technology to Engage More with Patients 

shutterstock_274885196Communication between doctors and patients via multiple channels can build better relationships and support improved treatment outcomes.

Key development that is transforming the way doctors engage with patients is wearable technology. As glucose monitors, insulin pumps, continuous ultrasound systems, Fitbits and other wearable gadgets gain more popularity, it is changing the way doctors care for patients and the way patients care for themselves.

Growing Trend

While the field of wearable health technology is still evolving, doctors are already seeing the benefits in terms of patient engagement and more interactive medical marketing. Technology can never completely replace personal doctor-patient conversations, but it still could be a game changer.

A nationwide Pew Research survey revealed that as many as 69 percent of American adults monitor at least one health indicator such as diet or exercise or body weight. Over 21 percent of the respondents said they used some type of technology to keep a track. According to experts, this number is projected to increase every year, and by 2025, wearable and embedded devices will be ubiquitous.

The Pew Center report also showed that 46 percent of the respondents said that their overall approach to maintain health had changed after they started keeping track of health data. Furthermore, 40 percent said that tracking data encouraged them to ask new questions from their physician or led them to seek a second opinion.

Advantage for Diabetics

Some endocrinologists are already prescribing wearable technology to their diabetic patients. Patients can use the glucose monitors instead of waiting for results of the blood tests. Blood sugar levels can be measured every five minutes just by inserting a small patch with a wire lead below the skin.

Such data provides a better context in order to improvise treatment. Patient data of past several months can be obtained from the device to create graphs and charts. Doctors are also encouraging patients to use Fitbits, pedometers, and mobile apps to keep a track of their fitness and diet. A 2014 report by a strategy consulting company called Endeavor Partners showed that one in 10 American consumers above the age of 18 already owns an activity tracker such as Fitbit.

Ultrasound Therapy Device

ZetrOZ has created a battery operated ultrasound therapy device. Patients suffering from problems such as frozen shoulder or orthopedic or arthritic conditions can use the device to receive automated physical therapy. The device provides continuous ultrasound therapy for up to four hours a day. The device earned the FDA’s approval in 2014. The patient can simply wear the device below their clothing and continue doing their normal activities.

Integrative Technologies

An innovative patient portal called Epic MyChart from Novant Health is helping patients share data from Fitbit and Apple HealthKit with their physician. With the integration of Fitbit and Apple HealthKit, nearly half a million users of MyChart can submit data from their personal fitness devices directly to their physicians.

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CreativeTake Medical is a leading medical marketing company helping doctors reach out to patients and engage with them more effectively through website, blogs, social media, and other online tools.

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