Wellness? There’s an App for That

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It seems health gadgets are the next big thing in personal electronics. But what does that really mean for wellness programs?
During last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which features the latest & greatest in personal electronics, health-related gadgets were all the rage.
Additionally, ABI Research recently released a report which predicts that the sports and health mobile app market is on pace to hit $400 million in revenues by 2016. That’s up from $120 million in 2010, meaning the market could quadruple over the next four years.
When you couple these trends, it’s easy to see that wellness is going high tech in a hurry. As we’ve discussed before, consumers are actively demanding technology play a larger role in their healthcare. And are personally investing in healthy technologies.
But again, what does this all mean for wellness? 
Here’s our take:
1. The explosion in health gadgets and mobile health apps is further evidence that American consumers are getting more and more interested in pursuing healthier lifestyles. For more examples, see our previous post on the coming tipping point in wellness.
2. Technology is a great enabler, but it’s not an antidote. We fully support the well-tech revolution, but apps alone will not be enough. Only the most motivated among us can tackle obesity and smoking and other issues with all tech and no team.  Technology in health and wellness is best used to facilitate meaningful engagement with physicians and wellness teams. As an industry, we have to consistently strive for the marriage of tech and team.
3. The medical establishment must keep pace with the consumer electronics space, or we will miss a real opportunity. The wellness and care management efforts patients receive need to be as savvy and engaging as the gadgets and apps consumers are using in their daily lives. These devices offer great insight into how to help patients follow through with doctor recommendations and take more control of their health.
4. Wellness programs must be flexible enough to embrace and incorporate new technologies. We should all be actively thinking about ways to leverage this explosion in health-related apps. They provide effective outlets for motivating patients, and new opportunities for capturing data that is important to a patient’s clinical care. The more we can integrate data sources and quickly adapt to new technologies the more likely wellness programs will stay relevant with patients. There are enough silos in healthcare. It’s time for collaboration.
How do you see wellness programming adopting and adapting to the consumer electronics push? 

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