More adults in the U.S. are expected to use a smartwatch in 2019 than ever before. One of the factors driving consumers to purchase Fitbits, Apple Watches and other similar devices is the desire to adopt healthier habits and improve their overall health. Healthcare teams can help engaged and motivated smartwatch users to maximize the potential of these devices with targeted communications.
Consider this scenario: A patient in his forties recently visited his doctor and was diagnosed with prediabetes. His doctor recommended that he make several lifestyle changes—like eating more balanced meals, getting more physical activity and quitting smoking—to try to reverse the condition. The patient has a smartwatch and decides to put it to use. He plans to quit smoking, so he synched his watch to a monitoring program that uses sensors in his smartwatch to track the number of cigarettes he smokes each day. Just as sensors can count a person’s steps, the sensors can detect the hand-to-mouth action that happens when smoking a cigarette. The smartwatch then becomes a tool that both the patient and his provider can utilize to help him accomplish his goal of kicking his smoking habit.
One way the patient’s healthcare provider can support him as he works to make a major lifestyle change is to communicate with him between visits. For example, the healthcare team can:
- Send a message with information about the link between smoking and diabetes to remind the patient of the benefits of quitting smoking.
- Send a message that shares additional smoking cessation resources and invites the patient to call his provider if he wants to discuss support options.
- Send an invite with a link to complete a health monitoring survey check-in that asks the patient to report his progress. This helps create accountability and gives the provider a way to track the patient’s progress between appointments.
A West survey of 1,036 adults and 317 healthcare providers in the U.S. revealed that 74 percent of Americans feel healthcare providers communicate too little outside of appointments. The point is, ramping up communication efforts is easy, gives patients the support they want and is a good way to take advantage of growing smartwatch trends.
Most healthcare teams already have patient engagement technology in place that lets them quickly and easily send automated messages—such as text messages or emails—to patients. Oftentimes teams use this technology to send appointment reminders, but it can also be used to send other communications. Smartwatches make it easy for patients to check and respond to messages from their healthcare team.
To learn more about how healthcare teams can build upon smartwatches’ popularity and improve between-visit communication to support patients in making healthy lifestyle improvements, download Smart Strategies for Capitalizing on Patients’ Smartwatch Use.