Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Health benefits fuel interest in wearable technology: PwC

Iain Morris
October 29, 2014
The market for wearable technology is being driven by interest in healthier living, according to a new consumer survey carried out by PwC, which says more than 80% of consumers cited eating healthier, exercising smarter and accessing more convenient medical care as major benefits of wearable technology.

However, the research also indicates that wearables will realize their potential in the $2.8 trillion US healthcare system only if companies focus on engaging with consumers and generating more insights from the data that wearables gather.

According to PwC, consumers have not yet embraced wearable health technology in large numbers, even if they have shown interest in this area.

More than 80% of consumers said an important benefit of wearable technology was its potential to make healthcare more convenient, but companies hoping to capitalize on this interest will have to create more affordable products that offer greater value for users and healthcare partners, said PwC.

The market-research company also pointed out that consumers do not want to pay much for wearable devices and, indeed, would rather be paid to use them.

Healthcare providers and insurers could, therefore, offer incentives for use to drive interest in the technology.

Around 68% of consumers have indicated they would wear employer-provided wearables streaming anonymous data to an information pool if they would get a break on their insurance premiums in return for doing so.

Consumers would also be more willing to try wearable technology provided by their primary care doctor’s office than if it reaches them through other channels.

Although employers and health company executives expect wearables to provide valuable insights, very few consumers appear to be interested in using wearables to share health data with friends and family, trusting their physicians most with health data.

As a result, companies should ensure privacy policies are crystal clear, emphasizes PwC.

“For wearables to help shape the new health economy, next-generation devices will need to be interoperable, integrated, engaging, social and outcomes-driven,” said Vaughn Kauffman, principal, PwC Health Industries. “Wearable data can be used by insurers and employers to better manage health, wellness and healthcare costs, by pharmaceutical and life sciences companies to run more robust clinical trials, and by healthcare providers to capture data to support outcomes-based reimbursement.”

“But it will be critical to address the consumer concerns that we’ve identified, such as cost, privacy, and ease of use,” added Kauffman.
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