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How Health Systems Can Benefit from Wearables


At HLTH2019, an expert at Fitbit discusses wearable devices.

From Fitbit to Apple to Samsung to Google, the wearable device market is competitive. These technology solutions give patients the opportunity to take more control over their health and health data. All the while, physicians can intervene if they notice alarming trends.

Amy McDonough is the senior vice president and general manager of Fitbit Health Solutions, a business division of Fitbit. At HLTH 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada, she shared with Inside Digital Health™ how health systems can benefit from these devices.

Editor’s note: The following transcript has been lightly edited for style and clarity.

Amy McDonough: Wearables have the opportunity to more deeply integrate into healthcare to help improve the healthcare system, both in terms of outcomes, as well as cost savings, by providing data, guidance and tools in a very personalized way, and in some cases, even early detection to help individuals improve on their own health.

We see great examples of everyone in the research community, as well as with health plans and health systems understanding the power that a wearable can bring to that in terms of providing that data and an ongoing touch point with a patient or a user.

One great example of this is in Cedar Sinai, which is doing a research study looking at the impact of wearables on post-operative surgery. So, what's the optimal number of steps you should take after a knee or hip surgery and how can that help prevent hospital readmission and help optimize for recovery? That's one example in the hospital space.

On the payer side, there are great examples of with Medicare Advantage and with the senior population of helping to motivate and engage seniors in health. Fitbit is really excited to partner with United Healthcare. We were in 42 Medicare Advantage plans this year, and that's going to be expanding to 59 plans across 27 states in the next plan year. There is also a program called Renew Active. That program is going to allow for seniors to have access to a social community providing community and social support to help them reach their goals.

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