In order to drive wearable adoption among chronic illness populations, payers and providers should consider subsidized tools with cardiovascular monitoring.
Healthcare providers and payers looking to leverage patient-generated health data through consumer wearable adoption are going to have to broaden the userbase, specifically tapping into chronic illness populations, according to a new report from Forrester, received via email.
Consumer Wearables Generate Good Data, But It’s From The Wrong Consumers — And It’s Not Helping Healthcare Providers outlines how patient-generated health data (PGHD) has the potential to supplement both provider and payer care management strategies, but currently the PGHD pool is limited.
PGHD, which is usually gleaned from patient wearables and remote patient monitoring devices, provides the opportunity for medical providers and healthcare payers to track patient health outside the four walls of the hospital.
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This is particularly helpful for engaging patients in care management plans, diagnosing and detecting medical conditions, chronic disease management, home patient monitoring, and managing clinical trials, wrote report authors Julie Ask and Arielle Trzcinski.
But currently, these remote monitoring tools are vastly underused. Across the entire US population, only 21 percent of patients say they use a consumer wearable. Twenty-one percent of Gen Z and Millennial patients use the tools, compared to 26 percent of Gen X and 23 percent of Baby Boomers. Only 15 percent of patients over age 75 use consumer wearables, the pair reported.
What’s more, wearable technologies aren’t getting a very strong hold outside of low-risk populations. Ninety-one percent of the patients who use wearables identify as an athlete, compared to the only 21 percent who said they have a chronic illness. Wealthy consumers are also more likely to use a wearable than low-income consumers.
This narrow user base is not particularly helpful for healthcare providers and payers, most of which want to use PGHD to drive care management and chronic disease prevention.
“Wearable owners are self-identified athletes, not those with chronic illnesses,” Ask and Trzcinski explained. “Lowering the cost of care through remote monitoring will depend on building solutions on a much more fragmented data set from a breadth of device manufacturers.”
While current wearable use may prevent some in the low-risk population from moving into rising risk, payers and providers will need to work to broaden the user base in order to glean more actionable insights.
Part of that is going to hinge on how payers and providers promote these technologies to individuals with chronic illness. After all, energy around consumer wearable technology is growing; 50 percent of all online US adults said they are at least interested in using wearable technology. But it’s going to take some targeted marketing, Ask and Trzcinski said.
For example, patients still don’t see a huge convenience incentive in wearable technology, while others harbor security concerns. Providers and payers would be well served to consider the functions a wearable offers that align with patient needs and preferences.
Notably, patients with chronic illness are interested in using a wearable to track sleep, heart rate, blood pressure, and physical activity.
Sixty-four and 63 percent of patients are interested in using a wearable that is subsidized by their provider and insurers, respectively. Sixty percent are comfortable sharing PGHD with their providers, while that figure is still a little low with insurers (48 percent).
“Healthcare providers and insurers have an opportunity to motivate their target consumers with two or more chronic conditions to utilize wearables if they subsidize the device and focus on sleep as well as cardiovascular data collection,” Ask and Trzcinski recommended.
Yielding meaningful use of consumer wearables will take more than broadening patient adoption, the authors continued. Clinicians must trust in data accuracy, with the onus largely falling on device manufacturers to emphasize that their tools glean good data.
Additionally, medical providers and payers will need access to artificial intelligence tools that can make sense of big data and PGHD.
Finally, healthcare policymakers must create incentives driving providers to actually use PGHD. This will be important both for outlining appropriate and secure use of PGHD, as well as outlining financial incentives.
“Shifting data from a tool that consumers use to achieve weight loss or a fitness goal to a tool used by healthcare providers to drive improved health outcomes faces substantial hurdles,” Ask and Trzcinski concluded. “Success will depend on ease of use and trust on both sides — consumers and physicians.”
Source: Patient Engagementhit