More Americans than ever—28.7 million to be precise—are expected to use smartwatches this year. Many will utilize activity tracking and health monitoring features, along with apps to count steps, track sleep and monitor their heart rate. Healthcare teams can capitalize on smartwatch adoption to help patients achieve their health goals by connecting smartwatch activity tracking to personalized care plans.
A study of current smartwatch users found that out of all the available smartwatch features, activity tracking is the second-most widely used. Forty-five percent of smartwatch owners use their watch daily for activity tracking. Without even knowing it, patients who use their smartwatches to monitor their activity levels and health are helping improve a problem that has frustrated doctors for years: patients’ lack of engagement in their own healthcare. Thanks to smartwatches, many more patients are now paying attention to their health and daily habits. And doctors can get involved to encourage further engagement.
Lifestyle changes often prescribed by doctors, such as increasing physical activity or switching to a healthier diet, can be difficult for patients to follow. However, if healthcare teams encourage patients to use a smartwatch to track their activity and manage it against their care plan, managing chronic conditions and preventing disease becomes much easier.
For example, counting steps is one of the more common types of activity tracking among smartwatch users. Accelerometers in smartwatches can easily record steps taken so patients can see whether they are hitting their daily goals, challenge themselves to increase their daily step count and even compete with friends or family members for bragging rights. Healthcare providers can support patients who use a step tracker by sending them automated messages to remind them to be physically active and take their target number of steps. An automated text message or email can easily be sent using the same technology healthcare teams already use to send appointment reminders. Providers can also send patients messages to remind them of the health benefits of meeting their step and other activity goals. The messages can be personalized so that patients with diabetes, for example, receive encouragement and detailed information about the importance of physical activity and its role in diabetes management. At the same time, patients with high cholesterol can receive similar messages that reinforce how small actions, like meeting daily step goals, can help reduce cholesterol.
Step counting is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to opportunities for patients and providers to leverage smartwatches to improve health routines and outcomes. To learn more about how healthcare teams can build upon smartwatches’ popularity to improve between-visit communication and inspire care plan adherence, download Smart Strategies for Capitalizing on Patients’ Smartwatch Use.