Wearing your health on your sleeve

Sure, we’ve all got FitBits or Apple Watches or any number of other wearables designed to track our sleep and exercise. And sure, we all think they’re going to help us to be healthier.

But here’s the thing — they really do.

Tara Courtland

Communications Director Tara Courtland

Last month, researchers at Northwestern University School of Professional Studies released a study showing that far from being just another pie-in-the-sky diet and exercise fad, wearables are actually making an impact on health.

The study followed employees at Humana for three years and found that those who use wearables on a daily basis saw a 44 percent decrease in sick days and saved 18 percent in healthcare costs.

Even more stunning is the extrapolation from there: over the next 25 years, a continuing trend along those lines could help cut hospital costs by about $200 billion.

That savings would be due in part to remote patient monitoring through the wearables, something being done on a small scale already.

It seems like a pipe dream — after all, how many apps have we all downloaded to count calories, remind us to drink water and track our steps each day, only to leave them unused after a few months?

But the study’s findings, combined with growing advances in technology — and in wearable sales — it’s suddenly easy to believe that kind of savings could happen; especially when you consider that the market for wearables is expected to hit 220 million units by 2020.

So that little rubber bracelet you think is helping you to live healthier? It is — keep wearing it.

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About Tara Courtland

Tara Courtland is the communications director at NEMT.
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