With the availability of devices that can track health information – you know, those wristbands and phone apps that measure how much exercise you’re getting or how many calories you’re eating – it’s no surprise that patients are bringing this information to their primary care physicians.
Wearable-digital-health-information industry is a fast growing market – worth between $3 billion and $5 billion (Credit Suisse) – with over 50,000 health apps, has the power to transform health care. But the information collected can be overwhelming to physicians – pages of excel sheets that includes symptoms, medication, heart rate data – information these devices collect can be overwhelming. And begs the question, are the data coming in digitally accurate? There are limited validation studies on these ‘low risk devices’ – meaning those not monitored by the FDA, such as FitBits and Apple Watches.
However, these devices can also put the power back into the hands of individuals, as they are able to track healthy behaviours and likely promote positive lifestyle choices.
Bret Parker (who blogged HERE), a 46-year old lawyer from NYC is participating in this trial: “When I heard there was a trial that involved a wearable that would help me better manage my symptoms and my condition, I said to myself, ‘Well, that’s a pretty cool thing. I’ve got to try that’.”
As well, Dr. Gareth Jones (my PhD supervisor) at the University of British Columbia Okanagan and Dr. Petrella from Western University have created a new app called “Health e Steps” with the intention of communicating specific health information to physicians. You can watch their video HERE.
Finally, if you are a person with Parkinson’s disease living in the Victoria BC area, there may be an upcoming opportunity to participate in a trail for a wearable device in partnership with ParkinGo. Check out their great website and get in touch if you are interested in finding out more information!